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Signed Print Edition of 4
H 58cm x W 94cm
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The Gallery Staff 4 is a print from Julian Opie’s 2010 The Gallery Staff series that shows five silhouetted figures printed on transparent glass. Each figure holds a pose in profile, as though frozen in action. The figures are in varying positions, two are sitting on chairs, another is reading a book and the two central figures appear to be conversing.
This series explicitly engages with the 19th century art historical tradition of silhouette portraiture, led by artist Auguste Edouart, whereby the new middle classes would commission family group or individual portraits to record a moment in time. Opie has a strong interest in noticing silhouettes everywhere and has said of the genre, “It is one of the most common forms of drawing around, certainly in that period from late 18th to early 20th century. It’s so common it has become boring, and it’s kind of boring anyway in the sense that it does not stray much from reality.”
Using simplified pictograms to explore tensions between a generalised and specific reality, Opie’s The Gallery Staff series represents his interest in not creating a photographic record of a past moment, but a full representation of reference, memory and sensory experience.