Julian Opie - Evening & Day Editions London Monday, June 14, 2021 | Phillips
  • 'I don’t invent or imagine things, just notice and record them.' —Julian OpieA relentless exploration of the reductive essentials capturing the world around us, and the people we see every day, Opie’s style is drawn from diverse influences including billboards, classical portraiture and sculpture, dance, Japanese woodblocks, and cartoons. The artist connects modern life to art history, taking images, memories and sensory experiences from everyday encounters, and distilling them into concise but evocative signs and pictograms.


    Opie typically draws from photographs of people walking in the streets. After sifting through hundreds of images, he chooses a select few to form a palette of characters to work with. Sketched out and refined, figures are re-assembled into a crowd, once again becoming strangers.


    For Walking Statuettes, Opie observed people walking around Melbourne. He created figures that are faceless, yet contain characteristic nuances, such as gait, posture, and clothing, attributing each with individuality. Paradoxically, after embedding these unique features into his designs, Opie flattens the surface with colour and line. The result is figures at once specific, and universal. The combination of the personal and the abstract allows the viewer to project their own memories onto each object, spotlighting our differences but at the same time acknowledging our similarities.


    The artist was inspired by items which sat at a child’s eye-level on his grandfathers walnut and leather desk: Bakelite lamps, stone pen holders, leather-bound books and glass bottles of ink - treasures that a child could not understand the use for and would not be allowed to touch. Opie discovered new meaning for surfaces from this view point, and applies this in Walking Satuettes, the individual objects of which can transform any surface into a busy pavement. Like the precious objects on the desk, these statuettes can be rearranged to create a variety of new street scenes. 

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including Imogen, Natalie, Ian, Danielle, Faime, Tina, and Bobby


Walking Statuettes

The complete series of seven hand-painted resin model board statuettes.
all approx. 39 x 16 x 5 cm (15 3/8 x 6 1/4 x 1 7/8 in.)
All signed and numbered 22/30 in black ink on the underside (there were also 5 artist's proofs), published by Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 50,000 ‡♠

Sold for £60,480

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 14 - 15 June 2021