Art Review: Julian Opie @ Lisson Gallery

Julian Opie may not be a household name, yet most will recognise his cover art for Blur’s Best Of album. Also, anybody who’s worked on Euston Road or in the City may have come across one of his monumental ‘walking’ LED installations.

This exhibition includes more of the same plus Opie experimenting with some different styles. He is clearly inspired by Warhol with his brightly coloured works and lack of subtlety but can Opie offer something more than just a pale imitation?

There are a lot of paintings on display but these all feel a little lifeless, yet the LED screens are much more engaging with the galloping horse, clearly inspired by Eadweard Muybridge’s stop action photographs, having an hypnotic effect.

Opie is less known for his video works of living landscapes but there are plenty on display at this exhibition. With the addition of ambient insect noises they have the potential to be fully immersive but when there are four in the same room they manage to drown each other out.

Hidden away at the back of the gallery are a set of busts that are brilliantly deceiving. They are painted in a style used to make two dimensional objects look three dimensional. But as these busts are already in three dimensions the contradiction can make it difficult for eyes to adjust.

Opie’s established works take centre stage as the main draw, but it’s the less recognised works that are the saving grace of this exhibition.

Julian Opie is on at the Lisson Gallery, 29 Bell St, NW1 5BY until 25 August. Entrance is free. 

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