Luc And Ludivine Get Married Julian Opie
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Luc And Ludivine Get Married is a set of 16 mixed media works by Julian Opie from 2007 rendered in his pared-back, graphic style. Each work in the series shows two portraits of a man and woman, each presented in an individual elliptical frame with blown domed glazing.
Opie’s Luc And Ludivine Get Married 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.”
The artist has created these images through using digital photography and computer drawing programmes, a creative process he is well versed in and renowned for. Initially Opie captures the sitters through digital photographs so as to get a feel for their personality and point to any crucial details that are integral their character. He then chooses his favourite images and draws over the individual photographs on the computer to reduce and abstract the original image.
The works in Opie’s Luc And Ludivine Get Married series show each figure in one of four poses, rendering them in different combinations of each pose, thus making every composition across the series unique. Through Opie’s mechanical repetition of the portraits, the meaning of each work is changed by the combination presented. For instance, in Luc And Ludivine Get Married (Pair 10), the figures seem detached as they face away from one another, whereas in Luc And Ludivine Get Married (Pair 05) the figures face inwards to one another and appear more like a married couple. This series is indicative of Opie’s desire to work with one idea across a number of different compositions, producing many versions of the same subject.
Why is the Luc And Ludivine Get Married series important?
Since the mid-1990s, Opie has explored the principles of modular variation across artistic media and art historical genres. The artist’s Luc And Ludivine Get Married series is indicative of this investigation, with prints consisting of similar titles, each with the same double portrait format, and the pose of the two figures interchanged in each print. Opie emphasises art as a commodity in his replication of post-industrial modes of production and exposes the dehumanising effects of computer technology.
This particular series is indicative of Opie’s fascination with portraiture and people in his repetition of the subject. Opie started drawing people using the old Letraset tracing paper over photographs but explains: “I consciously looked around for a way in which I could draw people and it started by buying the aluminium symbols for male and female toilets and I looked at them and thought I could combine, as I often do, the impersonal with the personal.” Opie’s mechanical repetition of the subject reflects this tension between the impersonal and personal, the familiar and the unknown.
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