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
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Broadchurch series 3: David Tennant and Olivia Colman to return for third season, ITV confirms
Eurovision 2015: Finnish punk band with learning disabilities applies to raise awareness
Drake matches The Beatles' record with 14 singles in top 100 chart at the same time
Aidan Turner interview: 'being a sex symbol is a little awkward'
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'