‘As I use these ideas of seeing-yourself-sensing or sensing-yourself- seeing, they are about trying to introduce relationships between having an experience and simultaneously evaluating and being aware that you are having this experience. It’s not about experience versus interpretation but about the experience inside the interpretive act, about the experience itself being interpretive. You could say that I’m trying to put the body in the mind and the mind in the body’ (O. Eliasson, interview with C. Gilbert, ‘Olafur Eliasson by Chris Gilbert’, in BOMB 88, Summer 2004, reproduced at http://bombmagazine.org/article/2651/olafur-eliasson).
With its captivating glow, Eye See You is a stunning example of Olafur Eliasson’s continued engagement with light as installation art. Eye See You is made from a prefabricated cooking light which works by harnessing the sun. Here, Eliasson fitted the lamp with a warm yellow sodium light, and veiled it with a glass disk. Thin ribs on the glass disk create a subtle moire effect, producing subtle chromatic shifts as the viewer passes by. When the disk appears blue, the piece seems like an eye; when it is yellowed and caramel, it blazes like a sun or glittering jewel. Executed in 2006 for a commission from Louis Vuitton, Eye See You filled the display windows of the luxury stores worldwide over the Christmas period. Eliasson’s work is committed to activating the public’s experience of the city with his art. ‘In a museum, the tradition is to suggest that you are alone’, Eliasson says of Eye See You. ‘Here you are staged as an
actor, and the rest of the street is the audience.’ Eye See You breaks down the psychological barrier of looking into a shop window and being looked at. Instead of seeing products, he aims to reflect the gaze of the viewer. As he explains, ‘When you look into the light, you see more of yourself than you ever have’ (O. Eliasson, quoted in A. Browne, ‘An I for an Eye’, in The New York Times, 5 November 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/05/magazine/05matter.html?_r=0).