Artist and Goldsmiths graduate Julian Opie lights up London

Shaida Walking by Julian Opie. Lumière London Festival. Photo: Simisola Jasmine Jolaoso

Shaida Walking by Julian Opie. Lumière London Festival. Photo: Simisola Jasmine Jolaoso

An installation by Goldsmiths graduate and leading British artist, Julian Opie, was one of the artistic creations from more than 30 artists illuminated at the capital’s four-day festival of lights, Lumière London.

Shaida Walking, Opie’s LED display of a woman walking on the spot, proved such a draw at Broadwick Street over the weekend that it is now set to become a permanent fixture of the Carnaby Street scene.

Walking Statue FINAL

The festival, held for the first time in London, consisted of a wide range of colourful-lighted sculptures hanging in the sky or reflected onto buildings around King’s Cross, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square, Westminster and Oxford Circus.

Opie said: “I wanted to draw people just the way they look walking down my street, any street. I asked random people to spare me 20 minutes and be filmed walking on a treadmill, I then set about drawing each frame and built a display cabinet using LED technology usually seen on billboards and information panels.”

He said he found a public spot and then placed the object there “to stride endlessly as a living drawing and as part of the crowd”.

The installation was an instant hit with many passerbys trying to imitate the display’s walking action or taking photos.

Copying Statue FINAL

Onlookers share their reactions:


 Julian Opie, who graduated from Goldsmiths in 1982, has exhibited at major museums including Kunstverein in Cologne, MAK in Vienna and Art Tower Mito in Ibaraki, Japan.

His pieces can be found at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

Other artworks displayed at the festival can be viewed here.

Follow Simisola Jasmine Jolaoso on Twitter: @its_simij


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