Taken from Julian Opie’s Watching Suzanne series from 2006, Watching Suzanne (front) 5 shows a tightly cropped image of a woman’s torso and thighs, wearing only her underwear. Opie creates a highly stylised image, depicting the woman’s body with thick, black lines against a white backdrop.
Watching Suzanne (front) 5 is exemplary of Opie’s working process that is far more arduous than the print itself reveals. For similar works such as Opie’s This is Shahnoza series from 2006, the artist worked with a professional model for a number of days, taking thousands of photographs, simultaneously using a video camera to capture the figure’s movements in real time. Opie then refines what he is going to draw and renders the image on the computer to produce a variety of images.
As a computer-generated image, rendered in such a way that the figure appears more like a sign than an individual, Opie produces a depersonalised portrait of a stereotypically attractive woman. Showing only the model’s torso, thus leaving out her face and other details that may distinguish the figure, Opie anonymises the image and forces the viewer to consider why they find this image so alluring.