5 Year Print Market Review 2023


Depicting fairy-tale-like architecture, Julian Opie's Medieval Village series is representative of his attempts to depict universally understood signs. Opie, as ever, effectively explores the assumed visual language embedded in everyday life that is normally overlooked.

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Meaning & Analysis

The Medieval Village series by Julian Opie from 2019 is created with lenticular panel and is depicted in the artist’s simplified, graphic style. As a set of four prints, this series depicts a medieval castle from four different perspectives working to emphasise the three dimensional effect of the lenticular prints. The series is rendered exclusively in grey, black and white.

The Medieval Village series draws from a sculpture installation called Medieval Village created by Opie in 2018 that shows an almost life size three dimensional rendering of the architecture this print represents. This print series is therefore indicative of the way in which Opie reproduces many versions of a singular subject in different media contexts. Alongside the print series, this sculptural piece works to capture how humans experience the world through physical encounters.

Throughout his career, Opie has produced many images that convey a sense of movement and dynamism in the form of static prints, paintings, sculpture, and moving images. Using photographs taken by the artist, each print is then manipulated and reduced to a matter of simplified shapes and signs to represent a figure. This particular series uses movement as a way to depict the three dimensional nature of the architecture, depicting the scene from different angles across each print. Additionally, Opie changes the shape of each print depending on the angle from which the architecture is viewed. Medieval Village #1 and #3 are rendered in a rectangular frame which #2 and #4 are in square frames.

Opie offers no contextual background to this image, instead offering a generic view of a castle from which the viewer can interpret it around their personal experiences. Much of Opie’s work has been compared to the digitally rendered landscapes of video games in the way that they mimic a simultaneously familiar yet otherworldly sphere. This print is highly graphic in style, using block colour and simplified shapes, working to create an image that is reminiscent of illustrations found in children’s books.

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