Julian Opie: Nudes
Julian Opie is a contemporary artist known for his simplified portraits of everyday life. While his subjects engage in various activities, they’re treated similarly, reduced to geometric shapes, bold outlines, and flat colors. The result is a clean, organized view of people from Opie’s pared-back perspective.
In the late 2000s, Opie released a series of pieces featuring models pole dancing and striking provocative poses. Aside from choice undergarments and accessories, the models are stripped down to reveal subtle curves and accentuated limbs. These nudes vary from Opie’s usual content, but feature the same treatment as any other subject. The body is reduced to shapes and lines, but are devoid of color. Through Opie’s detached retelling, the sexual nature of the act relies solely on how the models emphasize their female form.
Opie explains his choice to capture pole dancers, saying, “I draw all the time, and I draw people mostly and we’ve all got bodies. So I was thinking: how do these things exist in society?” He continues, “It seemed like pole dancing was an interesting way of approaching that, an honest way. It’s happening every night. I’m not saying it’s good. And I’m not saying it’s bad. That’s what’s actually out there.”