Rendered in the artist’s universally recognisable style, Watching Suzanne (front) 2 is a print from Julian Opie’s Watching Suzanne series. The print features a dramatically cropped image of a woman’s torso and thighs as viewed from the front, wearing only her underwear. The image is depicted exclusively in black and white and very thick lines.
Opie’s interest in the human body explores the tension between general and specific reality, transforming individual subjects into universal signs so as to interrogate the genre of life drawing itself. Speaking of his desire to go beyond the traditional boundaries of art and art history Opie has said, “Our attitude towards art history, towards schools, styles and ‘isms’, was quite aggressive. We wanted to manipulate them, to use whatever style we wished.”
Watching Suzanne (front) 2 is representative of Opie’s interest in the human form that he extends into the realm of moving images and animations. When considered side by side, the 20 images from this series create an animation made up of individual still images. Opie shows the figure moving her hips from side to side then turning to face away from the viewer. The intense cropping of each image alludes to this notion of a snapshot in time, as opposed to providing the viewer with an entire storyline.