Carp is a lenticular print by Julian Opie from 2015 that features the artist’s signature linear style, depicting a group of Carp fish swimming. Depicted with black line against a plain white backdrop, this is a simple and idyllic subject, indicative of Opie’s desire to represent the mundanities of everyday life.
The quiet and natural motif of swimming fish contrasts with the rigidity of the artist’s graphic style to create a composition that displays a tension between graphic design and fine art. Opie abstracts the subject by offering no contextual backdrop to the viewer, as the fish are seen swimming in water that is not depicted. This is indicative of Opie’s interest in creating a visual language formed of highly recognisable signs. Indeed, this work is reminiscent of Opie’s Escaped Animals 2002 that was a series of thirteen manufactured road signs depicting animals
Using lenticular technology as a key component to this work, Opie produces a moving image that shows the fish making small movements as they are seen to swim. Opie has demonstrated a keen interest in movement and animation throughout his career, often using movement as a form of realism. As a computer-generated image, rendered in such a way that the motif can be repeated many times over, the viewer is forced to think about how we look at images of everyday life.