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Digital Print, 2001
Signed Print Edition of 40
H 39cm x W 65cm
Still Life With Bananas, Aubergines And Green Beans is a print from Julian Opie’s 2001 Still Life series that shows an image of four bananas, four green beans and two aubergines against a stark, black backdrop. Opie uses this subject as a study of colour and tone, reducing light and shadow into simplified shapes of block colour in each item of food coloured with yellow, green and dark blue.
Still Life With Bananas, Aubergines And Green Beans is reminiscent of 17th century Dutch still life painting in its allusion to realism and starkly contrasted dark background. Indeed, Opie has been interested in engaging with the traditions of art history throughout his entire career, notably in his works A Pile of Old Masters (1983) and Eat Dirt, Art History (1983). With this print, Opie presents a twenty-first century version of the classic art historical genre through his use of computer technology, saturated colour and simplified form.
Engaging with canonical styles of art history, Opie demonstrates his interest not in representing reality but how reality is represented to the viewer. Still Life With Bananas, Aubergines And Green Beans 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.”