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ICA/Vita Brevis Project: Julian Opie
Opie’s figures appear to walk endlessly 24 hours a day with mesmerizing ease.
October 6, 2005 — October 31, 2006
For the 8th Annual ICA/Vita Brevis Project, Julian Opie, a world-renowned artist based in Great Britain, has created two life-sized, full-length animated portraits viewed on LED screens. The figures are drawn in the artist’s characteristic style, yet sport a highly naturalistic gait through Opie’s carefully finessed animation. Suzanne walking and Julian walking are placed on the outside edge of the Northern Avenue Bridge, a short distance from the new ICA and a link between Boston’s downtown financial district and the Seaport. Visible both day and night, the figures appear to walk endlessly 24 hours a day with
mesmerizing ease, evoking the strength of Boston as a pedestrian-friendly city.
Opie borrows liberally from the visual conventions of advertising and mass-media to create graphically bright and hard-edged depictions of people, trees, roads, cars, and buildings. These appear generic at first glance, yet reveal unique idiosyncrasies upon closer inspection. Though inspired in part by the technological and commercial visual bombardment of our world, the artist’s work communicates a softly stated optimism. Opie’s works appear in a range of settings, from museums and galleries to billboards, hospitals, airports, and department stores.