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 Julian Opie  (1958 - )

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Lived/Active: England      Known for: computer generated images-portraits, genre, cartoon figures

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Julian Opie was born in 1958 in London and raised in Oxford.  He is a graduate of Goldsmiths College (1979-82) and achieved some early gallery success, which was an incentive for slightly younger artists in the same college, such as Damien Hirst to do likewise.

His highly stylized work, involves the reduction of photographs (or short films) into figurative reproductions (created using computer software).  In his portraiture, the human face is characterized by black outlines with flat areas of color, and minimalized detail, to the extent that an eye can become a just the black circle of the pupil, and sometimes a head is represented by a circle with a space where the neck would be.  In this way, Julian Opie tries to present the complexities of the human form by reducing it to its mere basics.

As a successful artist who exhibits internationally, Opie uses computers in art for other works. His famous Imagine you are… series, demonstrated how activities such as driving, walking and climbing could be represented by simple reductions. In addition, Opie uses sculpture and light installations to present items of everyday life.  I am simply using that which is available to describe that which is experienced.

Julian Opie's style was brought into the public eye when he was asked to design the cover for the British band, Blur's best of album.  On the cover, the band members (clockwise from top left) Graham Coxon, Alex James, Dave Rowntree and Damon Albarn are transformed into Opie's style.

Julian Opie, as one of the leading figures in computerized art, also implements computer technology by cutting out the outlines and colored shapes, sometimes on vinyl, as in large display banners at Tate Britain.

Opie is a trustee of the Tate Gallery and exhibits with Lisson Gallery and Alan Cristea Gallery in London. His studio and workshop is based in Shoreditch, London. Recently, Julian Opie has been met with controversy due to his more daring subject matter - pole dancers. A key part of his exhibition in the Cristea Art Gallery, pole dancers are typically reduced to cartoonist figures.

2002 - Rebecca Camhi Gallery, Athens
2002 - Mario Sequeira Gallery, Porto
2003 - Saved, 100 Years of the National Art Collections Fund, Hayward Gallery, London
2003 - Lenbachhaus Kunstbau, Munich
2003 - Arcadia; the other life of video games Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand
2003 - Addiction, curated by Christopher Kul-Want, 15 Micamber Street, London
2003 - Bienal de Valencia Valencia, Spain
2003 - No Art-No City - City Utopias in Contemporary Art. Stadtische Galerie im Buntentor, Bremen, Germany
2003 - Auto-nom, das Automobil in der Zeitgenossischen Kunst, NRW Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Dusseldorf, Germany
2003 - Urban Codes - Coder/De' coder, espace de l'art concret, Chateau de Mouans, Mouans-Sartoux, France
2003 - 'Trickfilm', Andre Buchmann Galerie, Cologne
2003 - Robert Mc Lain Gallery, Houston, Texas
2003 - MART - Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto
2003 - Galerie Bob Van Orsouw, Zurich
2003 - Neues Museum Nurnberg, Nuremberg
2003 - K21 Dusseldorf, Germany
2003 - Alan Cristea Gallery, London
2004 - Animals, buildings, cars and people Public Art Fund, City hall Park, New York City, curated by Tom Eccles
2004 - 'Sara, Bryan & Monique', Lisson Gallery, London
2004 - Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm
2004 - Kunsthandlung H. Krobath & B. Wimmer, Vienna
2004 - Patrick de Brock Gallery, Knokke, Belgium
2004 - Barbara Thumm Galerie, Berlin
2004 - MCA Chicago
2004 - Bearings: Landscapes from the IMMA Collection, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
2004 - The Tower Block, vertical architecture, Clifford Chance, Canary Wharf, London
2004 - Portrat ohne Antlitz (Face without features) Kunsthalle Kiel, Germany.
2004 - Funny Cuts; cartoons and comics in contemporary art Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany
2004 - People Mimmo Scognamiglio, Naples, Italy
2004 - Summer Exhibiton Royal Academy of Art, London
2005 - Gallery Mario Sequeira, Braga, Portugal
2005 - La Chocolateria, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
2005 - Scai the Bathhouse, Tokyo
2005 - ICA, Boston
2005 - Gallery MGM Oslo, Norway
2005 - Gallery Valentina Bonomo, Rome, Italy
2006 - Shanghai Biennale, China
2006 - Auto Nom Kasel, Germany
2006 - Alan Cristea Gallery, London

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