Tony Oursler (B. 1957)
All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled squa… Read more
Tony Oursler (B. 1957)


Tony Oursler (B. 1957)
signed, titled and dated 'VIZ Tony Oursler 2005' (on each DVD)
fiberglass sculpture, DVDs, wiring, hard drive, projector, remote control and projector mount
fibreglass sculpture: 58 ½ x 44 ¾ x 19 3/8in. (148.5 x 113.5 x 49cm.)
overall dimensions variable
Executed in 2005
Metro Pictures, New York.
Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2005.
Special notice
All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled square in the catalogue that are not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the day of the sale, and all sold and unsold lots not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the fifth Friday following the sale, will be removed to the warehouse of ‘Cadogan Tate’. Please note that there will be no charge to purchasers who collect their lots within two weeks of this sale.

Lot Essay

In Tony Oursler’s mesmerising video work, Viz, ten blinking eyes gaze vacantly in divergent directions, projected onto a biomorphic construction of interconnected orbs. In a flickering array of psychedelic colours each transfixed eye stares outwards, the sockets framed by synthetic hues that defy the work’s organic cell-like structure. Part of Oursler’s ongoing ocular fixation, Viz explores our relationship with seeing in a media-driven world; from televisions and computers, to mobile phones and cinema, our day to day lives are saturated with multimedia screens that both guide and distract our existence. Illustrating this chronic media consumption, each eye is immersed in something beyond the viewer’s reach, the focus of its line of vision revealed in the reflection of a screen in the cornea. In the repeated constriction and dilation of pupil and iris, in Viz Oursler highlights the dual connectivity and isolation that technology affords us. We are constantly connected, yet, as demonstrated here by the distracted gaze of the eyes, we are always disconnected, never totally engaging with what is in front of us. With its intentionally low-grade format and uncanny subject, Viz presents a dystopian vision that witnesses the convergence of science fiction with our media afflicted reality. A contemporary of Mike Kelley and John Baldessari, Oursler’s multimedia installations are held in international museum collections including Tate, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC.

Viz – an abbreviation of ‘visible’ or ‘vision’ – plays with the concept of watching and being watched. While the magnified eyes, watery and red-veined, appear to take on a dystopian Big Brother function, it is, in fact, the viewer who is the voyeur; absorbed in a moment of media consumption the distracted eyes are unaware of their examination. Amputated from the body the eye assumes a synecdochial significance in which both human psyche and form is reduced to an eye. Oursler explains, ‘One could say that the recursive relationship between the viewer and the movie screen … is all concentrated in the eye. And, of course, the body. But the thought of making an eye on the same scale as the body would be colossal!’ (T. Oursler, quoted in E. Janus, ‘Talking Back: A Conversation with Tony Oursler’, Williams College Museum of Art,,%202010=Interviews=Talking%20Back:%20A%20Conversation%20with%20Tony%20Oursler).

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