Julian Opie Captures The Mumbai Walker In His New Show
In British artist Julian Opie’s canvases, currently on display at Sakshi Gallery, there is a notable absence of the use of a paintbrush, or for that matter the human hand. Opie’s trademark is his adherence to pristine forms; his works are in fact created with the help of techniques used to make road signs and advertising billboards. In his walking series, vinyl patches are computer cut into form; in another series, London commuters are silk screened on shiny wooden boards made by a company dealing in kitchen doors. Even his landscapes, appearing like paint-by-number kits, are coated in shiny panelling. It’s a carefully constructed artifice that beguiles and distances the viewer, careful to smooth away any wrinkles, real or imagined (his portraits, faceless as there are, literally have no lines).
That Opie is a fan of the digital is apparent in the seamless arrangement of colour, particularly in his series of walkers from Mumbai, who are rendered faceless, and stripped of most identifying markers. These works, drawn from photos that Opie had shot surreptitiously, tower in Sakshi’s central room, delivering a visual punch, not unlike what one might encounter in a temple setting. The similarity is intentional says Opie, who fashioned the show along the architectural layouts of what he came across in Greek temples and more recently, the Elephanta caves. Hence a pair of videos of commuters flank the entrance aping the movement of crowds who jostle before deities. The viewer is then beckoned inside, confronted with the barest of signifying detail to intimate a narrative—in these looming forms, mother with baby, a paunched gentlemen, we bring our own back stories. Opie sees it simpler still: “My work is about vision,” he says. “And how I look at the world.”Tags: Art, Julian Opie, Sakshi Gallery
11-A Nathalal Parekh Road
Phone022 6610 3424
Relevant DatesUntil Wednesday, November 21
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