You write the reviews: Julian Opie, Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane, Dublin
Friday 07 March 2008
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
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
These Harry Potter lipsticks are sparking all sorts of controversy with Hogwarts fans
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Hunted: Channel 4 to test 'surveillance Britain' by taking Big Brother to sinister new lengths
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'