Taken from the artist’s Watching Suzanne series from 2006, Watching Suzanne (Back) 3 is a print by Julian Opie showing an image of a woman’s torso wearing only her underwear. Depicted with bold black lines against a white backdrop this image is a highly simplified representation of the human body.
Using photography and digital technology to produce these prints, Opie’s Watching Suzanne series combines the personal and the impersonal in his depiction of the human form. Reducing this figure to its most essential shapes and lines, Opie strives to form a universal mode of expression as a means to fully grasp reality. In creating depersonalised signs out of photographs of real people, Opie provides the viewer with space to project their own emotions and experiences onto this image.
Opie’s desire to achieve a universal form of realism in Watching Suzanne (Back) 3 is also made clear by his endless repetition and variation on the same subject across an entire series. Since the mid-1990s, Opie has explored the principles of modular variation across artistic media and art historical genres. The artist’s Watching Suzanne consists of prints with similar titles and with the same vertical composition showing the cropped image of the woman’s body, each print showing her in a different position.