Elena, Schoolgirl (With Lotus Blossom)

Elena, Schoolgirl (With Lotus Blossom)
Signed Print

Julian Opie

Screenprint, 2006
Signed Print Edition of 100
H 46cm x W 36cm

Critical Review

Opie presents the viewer with the absolute minimum by which the subject can be recognised, with buttons for eyes, two lines for a mouth, and the image created with flat, block colours. The young girl in this work is fictionalised through the highly stylised rendering of the image and in the presentation of the portrait as a type, rather than as an individual. Working to depersonalise the portrait with his drastically pared-back style, Opie opens the subject to a multitude of interpretations from the viewer.

This print, along with many other portraits in the artist’s oeuvre, is titled with the sitter’s first name and occupation, ‘schoolgirl,’ emphasising the way that Opie sought to use as little information as possible to create a distinctly recognizable portrait. Opie’s portraits like this one reveal the dehumanising effects of extreme digital simplification, highlighted by Elena’s blank expression.