Julian Opie - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Friday, October 6, 2023 | Phillips
  • “When you look at a mosaic you remain very aware of the hard natural material, you can feel it and it does not disappear like paint or digital ink. So the drawing fights with the material, your mind registers the squares and the stone and your eye sees the flowing three-dimensional drawing.”
    —    Julian Opie


    British artist Julian Opie is widely renowned as a leading figure of the New British Sculpture Movement. Characterised by his unique semi-abstract and minimalistic aesthetic, Opie’s ever-expanding practice continues to transcend the boundaries of traditional art making through his experimentation with various media.


    Existing equally as a painting and sculptural work, in Physiotherapist 1, the artist takes advantage of mosaic as a medium to conjure the illusion of depth and movement. Drawing inspiration from Roman mosaics, Opie appreciates the flat, earthy, rawness of cut marble and meticulously translates this effect into his own visual language. He challenges the viewer’s mind to register each individual square whilst taking into consideration its full flowing image. Almost life size in scale with its inctricately composed structure, the present work draws attention to the physicality of Opie’s portraits and is an exceptional piece which can be displayed and exhibited both indoors and outdoors.


    Opie is best known for his series of walking figures, which demonstrates his continued interest in the vocabulary of everyday life. The figures are radically portrayed as unknown passers-by as their sense of individuality is revealed through their movement. At times, the artist further incorporates specific details such as the subject’s occupation as observed in the eponymous Physiotherapist 1. Opie recalls, ‘I liked adding their job titles. Sometimes it seemed to fit and sometimes it didn't; I saw it as another way of classifying and identifying people. I also think it avoids the feeling that I know them but you don't.’ i


    Julian Opie first exhibited his mosaic works at his solo show Julian Opie at Lisson Gallery, London in 2012. This new series of works signaled a turning point in his career where he focused on melding sculptural forms with flat imagery.


    Opie is an artist of international significance and he has been honoured with solo exhibitions at Maho Kubota Gallery, 2022; Cristea Roberts Gallery, 2021; Lisson Gallery, 2021, 2020; Galerie Krobath, 2019; Alan Cristea Gallery, 2018; amongst others.



    Julian Opie discusses his practice, 2019


    i Julian Opie quoted in Mary Horlock, ‘Julian Opie (J.O)’, 3 June, 2004, online

    • Provenance

      Kukje Gallery, Taipei
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Physiotherapist 1

signed 'Julian Opie' on the reverse
mosaic tiles mounted on Dibond
122.5 x 71 cm. (48 1/4 x 27 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

HK$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for HK$215,900

Contact Specialist

Anastasia Salnikoff
Head of Day Sale, Associate Specialist
+852 2318 2014

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 7 October 2023