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
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Three-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother and father in New Mexico
- 2 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 3 Jewish community urged to boycott Cornwall village after residents vote for 'Hitlers Walk' sign to be reinstated
- 4 Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
- 5 Benedict Cumberbatch's Alan Turing gay-rights campaign snubbed by Prince William and Kate Middleton
Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
As Better Call Saul launches, here are the other spin-off shows we need to see
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign