New York Couple 5 is a print from Julian Opie’s New York Couple series from 2019 that shows an image of two people walking in opposing directions. As with many of Opie’s depictions of people, each figure is rendered faceless with a blank circle as a head. The figures are wearing smart clothing as though they are walking to work, with the female figure appearing to be busy on her mobile phone.
Opie’s New York Couple series is reminiscent of his Walking In The Rain series (2015) and Walking Melbourne series (2018) that show full-length depictions of people walking in the same simplified, graphic style. Throughout his career, Opie has produced many images of people walking 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.
Producing anonymous ‘passers-by’ with which to populate his world, Opie’s figures are not devoid of personality thus maintaining a sense of individuality within multiplicity. The figures in New York Couple 5 are defined by their striking, smart clothing, hair colour and stance and are thus reduced to ‘types’, prompting the viewer to think about how we relate to and resemble one another.