Sissi Looking Upwards is a signed mixed media print produced by Julian Opie, one of the leading figures of the New British Sculpture movement. Made in 2015 in an edition size of 30, this print on lenticular acrylic panel shows the portrait of a young girl. The girl is rendered using bright and bold colours against a purple backdrop. Her wide eyes are looking upwards, as opposed to straight ahead, as would be expected in a portrait, suggesting she is worried or concerned about something.
This print captures the essence of Opie’s distinct artistic style which is characterised by the use of thick lines filled with blocks of colour. In order to achieve this, Opie takes photos of people and then digitally reduces them to pure surface and line, to which the artist adds bright colours. This reduction is a means for Opie to question how images are perceived and understood by the viewer and showcases how Opie is able to convey the complexity of the human face and the expression of emotion with just a handful of lines.
As well as producing his own portraits, Opie has also been commissioned to produce portraits of notable figures. Opie’s portrait of the British inventor and designer, James Dyson hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Arguably Opie’s most notable portraits are those he did for the cover of Blur’s album, Blur: The Best Of, in 2000.