Characteristic of the artist’s minimalist graphic style, Imagine You Are Driving (Fast)/Olivier is a print from Julian Opie’s Imagine You Are Driving (Fast) series from 2002. This print shows a landscape view of a racetrack alongside a portrait image of Formula 1 driver Olivier Panis. In this series, Opie brings the world of Formula 1 into the art world to create an unusual juxtaposition that challenges normative representation.
Working from digital photographs Opie develops his images from his immediate personal experience but depersonalises through the use of simplified form and new computer technology. This depersonalisation of the image works to offer the viewer not a representation of life but a commodity, that of being able to make their own individual imaginative journey within this scene.
Opie has spoken of the subversive and imaginative qualities to his work saying, “I think my work is about trying to be happy… I want the world to seem like the kind of place you’d want to escape into... Mundane things are just as exciting as all the things you might imagine escaping into.” Imagine You Are Driving (Fast)/Olivier transforms the world of Formula 1 into an otherworldly realm that resembles a video game, offering the viewer a sense of escapism and possibility.