Watching Suzanne (Back) 2 is a print from Julian Opie’s Watching Suzanne series from 2006 that shows a highly cropped image of a woman’s torso and thighs, as seen from the back, in only her underwear. Opie creates a highly stylised image, depicting the woman’s body with thick, black lines against a white backdrop.
The Watching Suzanne series, like many of Opie’s work throughout his career, is based on the multiple modular method. Across the series the prints consist of similar titles, each with the same vertical composition and the pose of the figure slightly different in every print. Deriving his modules, in this case the human body, from photographs, these are then altered with computer technology to produce stylised and simplified images that function like generic signs.
Watching Suzanne (Back) 2 simplifies the human form to such extreme lengths that some elements are highlighted whilst others a lost, thus Opie generates questions around how we recognise images and form. In replicating this post-industrial mode of production in the Watching Suzanne series through the use of modular structures and repetition of the same subject, Opie highlights the dehumanising effects of such processes.