In Arts + Entertainment

Julian Opie’s First-Ever Australian Exhibition Opens In Melbourne

To art lovers, Julian Opie’s cartoon-like work is instantly recognisable and for the first time, his work will be on display for the first-time ever in Australia at the National Gallery of Victoria from now until 17 February 2019. He’s been called one of Britain’s most influential living artists and for just a few months, the free exhibition will showcase his quirky installations such as a shoal of virtual carp swimming in the NGV’s water wall to a towering metropolis in Federation Court.

More than 60 of Opie’s works, renowned for their bold and pared back style, will be on display as part of the exhibition.

Julian Opie Melbourne exhibit

Responding directly to the architecture of NGV International, Opie’s also created the largest ever work presented in Federation Court: a city of skyscrapers stretching all the way up to the glass ceiling. Standing 13 metres high at its tallest point, the work creates an immersive metropolis where visitors can reflect on the urban environment.

Presented alongside the cityscape will be a school of animated fish that appear to swim behind the falling water of the NGV’s water wall; stone sheep grazing, crows pecking and a horse galloping in the Grollo Equiset Garden; a reimagining of the famed Belgian fountain Manneken Pis in the NGV moat; and in a series of figurative sculptures, a crowd of people walking are caught mid-stride in the foyer spaces.

Julian Opie Melbourne exhibit

“Since graduating from art school in the early 1980s, Opie burst onto the London art scene and developed a minimalist approach to painting, sculpture and film that recalls the endless human motion captured in Roman and Egyptian friezes, as well as Eadweard Muybridge’s famous photographic sequences,” says NGV director Tony Ellwood.

His works are drawn straight from the streets of Melbourne, and a selection of Opie’s recent walking figures of Melburnians will also be on display, offering visitors a unique opportunity to see their community rendered by the artist in his signature aesthetic. The exhibition will also survey more than forty of the artist’s animated and moving image works, from 1993 to the present.

Julian Opie Melbourne exhibit

An interactive exhibition for families, Julian Opie: Studio for Kids, will also be on display and feature hands-on and digital activities developed in collaboration with the artist. Ideal for those visiting with children, the hands-on exhibition is interactive and was developed in collaboration with the artist. It allows kids to create portraits in similar Opie style with bold colours and shapes using felt pieces or designing a digital self-portrait using only line and colour. With a strong focus on Opie’s interests in drawing, portraiture and observation, young visitors will learn new techniques and processes to create their own portraits and experiment with abstract images.

The exhibition Julian Opie will be accompanied by a 264-page publication, featuring a lenticular cover image (i.e. a hologram/3D-like image) by the artist, essays on his practice and more than 180 colour reproductions.

Published 20 December, 2018