press release

In this exhibition by one of the most renowned contemporary British artists, MOCAK will be presenting new works, the majority of which have been prepared especially for the exhibition in Krakow. The overall theme is individuals and the nature that surrounds them.

Julian Opie has created his own way of drawing, characterised by its sparse line and simplicity. The artist has invested with new meaning the traditional media that appear in the title of the exhibition – sculptures, paintings and films, combining them with a generous use of electronic media. In processing imagery from the real world, Opie employs computer techniques and animation. Portraits are the prevailing form of his art whether of people or animals. From observing the real, he structures paintings that have been reduced to a language of basic elements that he composes into standard yet individualised representations. His compositions consist of black lines that combine into the contour of a silhouette or a face as well as symbols and planes of colour.

Opie creates his works in series. Using computer technology, he processes a single photograph into an image that appears on objects produced in a variety of techniques. Works that represent nature, in empathic black-and-white, appear in the exhibition as animated LED paintings and giant wall drawings. Portraits of friends, collectors and anonymous passers-by appear in the ancient technology of mosaics, as vinyl paintings, giant 3D printed sculptures, animated LCD and LED paintings.

This exhibition at MOCAK is the artist’s first individual show in Poland. It is part of the series of the exhibitions of artists whose works can be found in the Museum’s Collection. We aim to provide a wider artistic context for the works in the MOCAK Collection for visitors to the exhibitions.

Julian Opie (b. 1958) – lives and works in London. Between 1979 and 1982 he studied at the Goldsmith’s School of Art in London.

The artist makes paintings, sculptures, films and installations in public spaces. In his works, he employs electronic media to widen the boundaries of the traditional media such as oil painting or sculpture. The person has a key place in his art, and is often represented in movement. He portrays members of his family, friends and workers at his studio as well as anonymous passers-by and commissioning collectors. He usually draws his characters by using a black line filled with a strong, clear colour echoing the language of signs and symbols. He is interested in landscapes; he strips them of detail, bringing to the fore their essence. He has been inspired by a variety of phenomena: from the aesthetics of road signs, billboards and corporate logos, through Japanese prints to old master portraits, ancient Roman Greek and Egyptian sculpture to manga and comics.

Opie not only focuses on museum and gallery exhibitions, he also uses other opportunities and spaces to create and exhibit art. He is well known for his album covers including the album of the British group Blur Blur: The Best of (2000). He has worked on numerous stage sets and public works in cities around the world.

Julian Opie is one of the most well known contemporary British artists. His works can be found in the collections of many public institutions throughout the world, including Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum in London, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the Kunsthaus Zürich in Switzerland, the Neue Galerie – Sammlung Ludwig in Aachen, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the National Museum of Art in Osaka, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and also in the MOCAK Collection.