Julian Opie - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | Phillips
  • Julian Opie is a preeminent artist of the New British Sculpture Movement, pushing the boundaries of traditional artistic practice through his exploration of and experimentation with a variety of media. In Siân Walking; Jeremy Walking in Coat; Verity Walking; and Kris Walking, Opie takes advantage of lenticular printing, a medium that employs the 19th-century invention of lenticular lenses, to produce the illusion of depth and movement. Situated behind the lenses are at least two or more related images divided into thin vertical strips, with each group of strips presenting a frame of animation. Each of Opie’s lenticular acrylic panels include approximately twenty images that appear to transform into one another to generate a figure walking endlessly on a loop. Thus, when a viewer walks past these works of art, their movement is mimicked in the print. 


    “Like the classic haunted house portraits whose eyes follow you, I can make my sitters respond to the viewer. It’s a simple trick that fools no one, but nonetheless breaks the rules of reality. Magic is an important part of art and allows the picture to break away from normality and become communication, language, alive.”
    —Julian Opie


    Opie draws inspiration from a range of art historical genres and time periods. The minimal, yet bold black line drawing is reminiscent of cave paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphics, but also simultaneously situated in the realm of contemporary symbols and emojis. When first deciding to render the human form, Opie sought out the most familiar and standardized representations, landing on the simplified imagery used to indicate male and female restrooms. Opie’s figures are a combination of family, friends, anonymous passersby and conjured up personalities. Though the basic form for each figure is essentially the same, Opie maintains “a sense of individuality with the multiplicity” by providing the characters with names, outfits, and individual movement.i By adding these details and sometimes including each figures’ occupation in the title, Opie aims to “avoid the feeling that I know them, but you don’t.”ii  Furthermore, his emphasis on movement and the repetitive actions of the figures recalls the circular nature of striding athletes and warriors on ancient Greek vases or narrative Roman friezes. Much of Opie’s work is reliant on the engagement of the viewer, who must activate the work through their movement in the space and watch as the image transforms before their eyes. 



    iMary Horlock. Julian Opie. Tate Britain, 2004.
    iiJulian Opie. Julian Opie. Interviewed by Mary Horlock. Tate Britain, 2004.

    • Literature

      Alan Cristea Gallery 147-150


Sian Walking; Jeremy Walking in Coat; Verity Walking; and Kris Walking (C. 147-150)

The complete set of four lenticular acrylic panels, comprised of four color inkjet prints, back mounted and contained in brushed aluminum frames specified by the artist.
all approx. 32 5/8 x 18 1/4 x 1 1/2 in. (82.9 x 46.4 x 3.8 cm)
All signed in black ink and numbered 56/60 on labels affixed to the reverse of the frames (there were also 10 artist's proofs), published by Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Full Cataloguing

$85,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $146,050

Contact Specialist

212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023