16.5 x 16.5 cm

Optical glass prisms on Perspex in painted velvet lined wooden tray.

I found my first prisms, which I used in Periscope Eye, in 1964 in the marché aux puces in Paris, just as I had found the first cylinders I used in the flea market in Athens. I kept these found prisms for a couple of years, observing the way they behaved with light, and then started making pieces with them, the formal aesthetic of these pieces based on the way I saw them displayed in optic shops, in shallow cases lined with velvet. I liked the way they were displayed possibly because of multiple associations with precious stones and minerals, but also with tools. I was also fascinated by their use as tools for vision in both industry and war. Here were materials which were used both for destruction and creation. Not only that, they were real tools for vision, enabling people not only to see and sight from within bind boxes, but also to see within solid matter by analysing the spectrum of light given off by gases, for example in distant stars.

Photograph by Richard Wilding 2014