Updated: August 21, 2015 12:00:23 am
Walk and observe. Pause and click. Print and paste. Such is the trail and technique followed by contemporary artist Julian Opie in his creation of a series of 75 prints, which depict a circular walk taken through the French countryside on a beautiful winter day. Now on exhibit at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, “Winter” will be travelling to various cities in the country until August 2016, as part of British Council’s
“Re-Imagine Art” project, which fosters debate and dialogue between India and UK through cultural exchange.
“The exhibition comprises prints based on photographs, further modified digitally. It represents a new form and methodology of visual art-making that would be interesting to audiences,” shares Vivek Manshukhani, Director of Arts at British Council, India. Unlike the pastoral subject they represent, Opie’s prints possess a slick, digitised surface, rendered in monochromatic colours and are oddly reminiscent of an army camouflage. “I wanted a clean, frameless way of presenting the images and I chose a system of sticking an image to the back of the glass, which has been borrowed from Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 4.
The passenger routes there are enclosed by grey, back painted, glass panels. They provide a slick, modern, slightly sinister surface that has depth, and seems to float. It’s almost a mirror and almost a window,” says the artist. “It has always seemed logical to me to do as little as possible to achieve the maximum reality and effect,” he says, referring to the extensive use of technology in his works.
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With his work rooted in the use of diverse media and modern technology, Opie’s “Winter” finds resonance not only in 19th century Japanese woodblock prints and old master Dutch landscapes, but also images produced from Google Earth and Sat Nav systems. Reconstructed to replicate the exact movement and direction of his walk through the Loire valley in central France, the exhibition aims to create “an endless, moving, and 3D portrait of a small part of the world”.
The series challenges the viewer to think about ways of representing movement and space within visual art. “It is said that we do not perceive movement. We see a series of still changing images and our brain intuits movement,” says Opie, whose occasional portrayal of certain detailed elements — a dog, a few birds or a house — within the unchanging mood and scenery of the landscape allows the viewer to navigate time, distance and motion.
Opie’s work is symbolic of a process of art-making that is relevant to the innovation and experimentation of the 21st century, and the travelling exhibition aims to popularise it in India.
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