Showing two figures walking in the same direction, New York Couple 2 is a screen print from Julian Opie’s New York Couple series from 2019. As with many of Opie’s depictions of people, each figure is rendered faceless with a blank circle as a head. Despite this, these people are uniquely distinguishable due to Opie’s attention to detail with clothing and each person’s stance or gate.
New York Couple 2 uses varying tones of blue across the entire print, setting the full-length figures in profile against a light blue backdrop and their clothes rendered in blue hues. Speaking of his depictions of people from photographs taken in public, Opie has said, “Each figure throws up surprises and opportunities that I could not invent – a tattoo or a tasselled dress, a goatee or the logo on a T-shirt.”
Captured in the artist’s structured and graphic visual language, New York Couple 2 encapsulates contemporary life in New York in a way that makes the viewer think about their own body in relation to the compelling image. Opie rationalises the human form in a decidedly stylised manner, striking a balance between the soft and human, and the hard and artificial, producing an uncanny effect. Undertaking a task that has preoccupied artists for generations, Opie captures modern life in an entirely unique way.