Taken from the artist’s Luc And Ludivine Get Married series from 2007, Luc And Ludivine Get Married (pair 13) is a work by Julian Opie showing two portraits of a man and a woman. Presented in elliptical frames and blown domed glazing, Opie clearly engages with the Victorian art historical tradition of silhouette portraiture.
Opie has engaged with traditional art historical genres throughout his career, notably in works such as his Still Life series (2001) and The Gallery Staff series (2010). Engaging with canonical styles of art history, Opie demonstrates his interest not in representing reality but how reality is represented to the viewer. Luc And Ludivine Get Married (pair 13) is also indicative of Opie’s claim that the artist and viewers of art will always be constrained by the principles and traditions of art history. Of this in relation to his work, Opie has said, “It was an acknowledgement of the hopeless position of the art student in light of art history, but also a rally call not to feel overwhelmed by it.”
In creating these portraits through ‘objective’ computer technologies and the visual language of graphic design, Opie forms a kind of ‘non’ style that disguises the artist’s hand. Much like the way in which the identity of the sitters is subdued by the highly simplified graphic style, Opie contains subjectivity within a depersonalised syntax of signs.