You write the reviews: Julian Opie, Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane, Dublin

4.00

Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane has once again decided to exhibit in the streets around its location at Parnell Square, following on from its Barry Flanagan show two years ago. In that exhibition, hare sculptures bounced down the Irish capital's main thoroughfare for the gallery's reopening.

This time, five new works by the English artist Julian Opie, entitled Julian Opie: Walking on O'Connell Street, have been placed on O'Connell Street as part of the gallery's centenary celebrations. Opie's installations face north, in contrast to the southerly orientation of the statues of Jim Larkin and the other national figures commemorated on the street, the intention being to guide people to the gallery's entrance.

Opie, who is best known for his stylised, computer-generated portraiture, has here employed LED technology to create five animated portraits, including one of himself. The results, in bright orange, are funky and visually arresting, but his decision to work in a style so clearly based on traffic signs is annoyingly literal, especially for a project in which a large part of the motivation is to lead the public to the gallery. Exhibiting the works in three dimensions, using double-sided light boxes one foot wide and mounted on prefabricated concrete blocks, is also awkward.

Where the installations are effective is in their relationship with the sculptures surrounding them. Despite their aspirations to three-dimensionality, the installations contradict almost everything about the sculptures on O'Connell Street, most of all in their anonymity. We can see Daniel O'Connell's chubby cheeks and William Smith O'Brien's mutton chops, but Opie leaves the head off each of his figures (the most identifiable feature of the body is blank, a floating empty bubble above the body).

The insistence of the installations' titles that, despite their generic appearance, they are portraits based, like the sculptures around them, on a real person, is disquieting. It raises questions about the nature of individuality, as well as the viability in the digital age of portraiture of the type represented by the nearby pieces.

Despite reservations about its form and execution, this show is a welcome addition to Dublin. It shakes up the dull, conservative nature of O'Connell Street and asks probing questions of those willing to pause for a second on their busy journeys. The Hugh Lane should exhibit on its surrounding streets more regularly.

To 8 Nov (00 353 1 222 5550)

Nicholas Hamilton, teacher, Dublin

Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers