The idea for Eye in the well came from a dream on New Year’s Day of 1993... “When I arrived in N.Y. from Milan I went directly to the Limelight disco, a deconsecrated church, to dance. There I took two Ecstasy tablets and I danced till 5 a.m. I got into a cage that they lifted up and it was a fantastic experience to dance seeing the multitude of people on every floor, and the pulpit where the priest once officiated during Mass now full of people, and the DJ alternating techno music with Bach.

Then I took a taxi and went to Brooklyn to see Manhattan in the first lights of dawn.

The Greek taxi-driver took me to a special place, full of iron sculptures in the open air. The temperature must have been about -5°C, there was a strong wind and ice on the ground and I was wearing a long black imitation fur coat that was in fashion at the time. I let myself be carried along by the wind and I ‘skied’ on the ice in my black lacing-up boots, that were to be my only shoes when I went to live in Brooklyn. I let myself be carried along by the wind with my arms open like a sail in that expanse of ice, looking at the thousand lights of Manhattan at dawn. I asked the taxi-driver to take me to an after-hour bar in Manhattan. So I went to The Tunnel. Fantastic. More ecstasy and then a private party on the Lower East Side.

In the evening of 1st January, when I looked at myself in the mirror in the bathroom of the loft where the party was still going on, I noticed that my pupils had grown so big that they totally covered the blue of my irises.

In that moment I thought of deep things, as deep as the sea and as the universe.

In that moment I thought of birth, death, the moon, the sky and again the universe.

In that moment I thought of combining water, the symbol of birth, with the deep dark of black holes, of the unknown, of the mystery of man, of his brain which is a universe in its own right, much of it still unknown to us.

While I was indulging in these dissertations someone knocked at the door and awoke me out of my reverie.

Once they asked Serrano in an interview, ‘What has changed in your life since you became famous?’. He replied, ‘I’m glad I no longer have to sell drugs to survive’.

If some day someone asked me the same question I would reply, I’m glad I no longer have to sell myself to survive…”


Text by the artist