The secret passions of Opie are explored in a fascinating exhibition opening today at the
It is Opie's first show in a
The Holburne's director,
Opie has divided the gallery space in half - his works on one side, his collection on the other. It looks and feels different to what we are used to with old master portraits hung on white walls with natural light streaming through.
Opie hopes visitors will make connections, perhaps go around and go back to different works. Yes, they are very different but perhaps they are also similar.
"With old masters there is a slight tendency to go, 'Wow, look at that amazing craft', and it seems to be outside anybody's imagination quite how the flowers are painted. But actually it was a fairly standardised system as to how to do cloth, how to do flesh and so on. People would have learned it in workshops."
Opie has always used the latest technology so it is perhaps no surprise to see works from 2012 where he has explored 3D printing.
Two larger-than-life busts sit on plinths created using a 3D printer - hand-painted because the technology does not yet allow colour. Opie said he had not hand-painted for a long time but was helped by a 2,000 year old Egyptian funerary mask from the late Ptolomeic period that is in his collection.
"I often run out of nerve. I think, 'I can't do this', and my hand is shaking and I think I need my glasses," he said. "The idea of what I'm doing . . . it makes me nervous." So it helped to look at his mask and think some bloke in
Some visitors will be able to spot more direct connections. The blue curtains in a portrait of an unknown woman by
Many of his collected works are on display in his east
There are many wonderful and striking works in Opie's collection, not least a bust of the 18th-century composer
Opie was originally meant to fill just the one room but admitted getting carried away, hence the LED sculpture of a peeing boy and an enamel-on- glass naked lady in the Holburne's gardens.
form part of the exhibition at
the Holburne gallery of works created by, or collected by,
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