Xavier Lucchesi
Automates / Automatons

The series Automates / Automatons by Xavier Lucchesi features x-rays of the unusual collection of Museum Arthuro Lopez in Neuilly-sur Seine, near Paris, France. The radiographies of these automatons was initially done by the C2RMF laboratory of the Museum of Louvre with whom the artist engaged in an artistic process.

There is an obvious relationship between Automatons and the human being in their mechanical behavior.


The starting point of photography is the opacity of matter, and its capacity to reflect light. Xavier Lucchesi (…) decided, fifteen years ago, to work as an artist with the image as his medium of expression, but with no camera.

To achieve his aim, he decided to work with other devices that make it possible to produce images, but images of another kind. By using X rays and the most efficient scanners, Xavier Lucchesi creates images through a gesture which is not habitually linked with the production of images – the gesture of going through matter.


Going through matter does not mean reaching the other side, because, in that case, we could only see that side. And that would still be the same reality.

What is at stake here is that the gesture of going through matter makes it possible to see through and into matter. It is a human gesture, but it can only be made mentally if we are visionaries, or with the help of a special device. It is the gesture of the seer when he looks at you straight in the eyes and sees your soul. It is the gesture of X rays machines that look at matter and see what it conceals inside.


Xavier Lucchesi’s work is in a state of tension between these two poles, which seem to repel, and even exclude, each other. However, it reveals the possibility of their convergence in the psyche. It concerns memory, and discloses strata in memory that were unsuspected both in us and in history. Going through matter is a technical and mental gesture that puts oblivion and the present time on the same level, and makes it possible for them to illuminate each other.


The above paragraphs are part of Going through, a text written by Jean-Louis Poitevin (Paris, 2009) and translated into English by Gérard Mélis



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