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Julian Opie, b.1958

Escaped Animals2002

The urban environment represents a particular focus for the artist Julian Opie. Borrowing idioms and images from everyday life, he re-interprets and plays with our notions of the ordinary. In ‘Escaped Animals’, Opie produced a series of thirteen road signs, each depicting an individual animal. Each animal, (including a fox, squirrel, sheep and cat) has been represented as an outline shape against a different coloured background.

Opie’s work characteristically subverts a straightforward relationship with the familiar. Like real road signs, these images are designed to be read and understood instantly. Yet how should they be interpreted? Has the squirrel escaped? Are we being warned about the vulnerability of the animals? Should we be watching out?

Five of these signposts belong to IMMA’s collection. The series was specially commissioned to coincide with the opening of the BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art in Gateshead when four road signs from ‘Escaped Animals’ were erected in BALTIC square.

At the same time, complementary groups of ‘Escaped Animals’ were commissioned by BALTIC for assemblage outside five other prestigious art galleries in the UK and Ireland; Arnolfini, Bristol; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; IMMA, Dublin; The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Tate Gallery, Liverpool and Tate Modern, London.

MediumVinyl, aluminium and steel
DimensionsDimensions variable
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Commissioned by BALTIC, Gateshead and presented by BALTIC, and the artist, 2002
Item NumberIMMA.1517
Image Caption
Julian Opie, Escaped Animals, 2002, Vinyl, aluminium and steel, Dimensions variable, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Commissioned by BALTIC, Gateshead and presented by BALTIC, and the artist, 2002

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Julian Opie b.1958

English painter, sculptor, printmaker and installation artist Julian Opie (born 1958) studied under Michael Craig-Martin at Goldsmith’s College, London. Portraits and animated walking figures, rendered with minimal detail, are hallmarks of Opie’s style. He has exhibited widely in Europe and the US. His work is represented in major institutions and galleries including the Tate and MoMA New York.
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