Your ocular relief
Presented at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, “Your Ocular Relief” reveals new work by Olafur Eliasson that epitomizes the Danish-Icelandic artist’s decades-long experimentation with visual perception and experience.
Eliasson is interested in the conditions of perception—the scenes of seeing, so to speak. He acknowledges that the prevalence of lenses has driven recent developments in his practice, namely reflecting on the camera’s power to surveil as well as its potential to document injustice. “I have become intrigued by the notion of the ‘ocular,’ as we progress beyond the single-gaze of the panopticon to the decentralization of the authority of the lens,” says Eliasson in a statement on the exhibition. “Today, many of us now carry lenses with us through our various devices, so the question arises—who is the owner of the narrative?”
On that note, Eliasson constructs his work with an eye toward alternatives to predominating narratives and pressures that dictate collective existence. In the show’s massive, titular installation piece [pictured], which stretches across the gallery's expansive main space, five spotlights illuminate a system of mirrors, color-filters, and lenses. Taken from Eliasson’s disassembled earlier works, their reflections are projected onto a curved screen, forming a dance of ever-changing chromatic prisms. Disconnected from their observational purposes, Eliasson’s lenses transform into pure material: elements with which to create.
Olafur Eliasson, Your ocular relief, 2021. Projection screen, aluminium stands, LED projectors with optical components, lens enclosures with integrated motors, electrical ballasts, control units, 8 feet, 10 inches x 32 feet, 10 inches x 15 feet, 5 inches.