Julian Opie was born in London, England, in 1958, and raised in Oxford. He studied at Goldsmiths College of the University of London, graduating in 1982.
Opie’s work often involves the reduction of a photographic image using computer software. In his portraits, the human face is defined by black outlines and areas of flat color. Facial features are reduced to black circles and lines. He also uses the computer to create animated simulations of driving, walking and climbing using the same reductive technique.
The work of Julian Opie is collected by museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; and the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.
To create this work, Julian Opie begins with a video of two people walking. Using computer software, the artist eliminates most of the details in the original image, but retains the outlines and movements. He makes drawings of the figures at regular intervals. He joins those drawings together to produce figures that move with the fluidity of real human beings.
The drawings are translated into a format that can be played by the LED panels to create a continuous animation. The heads of these figures are simple circles. Since they appear to be anonymous and identical, we might be tempted to regard them as symbols for every man and woman; but the title Opie gives them references to specific people—Kiera and Julian, Bruce and Sara (tour stop 21).
Opie uses the same technique to create Bruce and Sara as he did to make Kiera and Julian (tour stop 2). Starting with a video of two people walking, Opie reduces the video images to drawings and joins them together in a format that can be played by LED panels to create a continuous animation. Representing the every man and every woman, the anonymous and identical images are surprisingly given names of specific people—Kiera and Julian, Bruce and Sara.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
ABOUT THE SCULPTURE
Bruce and Sara Walking, 2007
73″ x 38″ x 10′-0″
Kiera and Julian Walking, 2002 (not pictured)
73″ x 38″ x 10′-0″
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Scarecrow, 2006 Tom Claassen
Untitled (Two Rabbits), 2004 Jonathan Clarke
Lifestyle, 2006 Niki de Saint Phalle
Adam & Eve, 1985-1989 Jim Dine
Big White Gloves, Big Four Wheels, 2008 Mark di Suvero
Aesop’s Fables, 1990 Jean-Michel Folon
Voyage, 1999 Laura Ford
Bird, 2007 Keith Haring
Untitled (Ringed Figure), 1987 Käi
Love Vs. Money, 2017 Fernand Léger
Femmes Au Perroquet, 1952 Aristide Maillol
La Riviere, 1938 – 1943 Ju Ming
Tai Chi Singlewhip, 1998 Igor Mitoraj
Eros Bendato, 1999 Julian Opie
Kiera & Julian Walking, 2002
Bruce & Sara Walking, 2007 Tom Otterness
Kindly Geppetto, 2001 Mimmo Paladino
Zenit, 1999 Martin Puryear
Untitled (Bench), 2008 George Rickey
Four Rectangles Oblique, 1979 Tony Smith
Night, 1962 Bernar Venet
2 Arcs X 4, 230.5 Degree, Arc X 5, 1999-2000 Erwin Wurm
Big Suit, 2010 Kan Yasuda
Door of Return, 2001 Jack Youngerman