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Picasso X-Ray


A young photographer Xavier Lucchesi comes to see me after an internship in Russia, when the country abandons the communist regime. He gathered military badges, everyday objects, symbols of an era that was going to disappear and had them x-rayed in a hospital.
These images challenge me and make me think of the work of biologists at the beginning of the century, these wonderful images of plants by XRay.
Steven N Meyers, Albert Koetsier (Flowers spirit) among others.
This technique increasingly interested artists from the 1970s. Like this unforgettable self-portrait by Meret Oppenheim.
At the time of our meeting, I collaborate with the Picasso Administration who accompanies me in the edition of objects under license, intended for the shops of the national museums.
I think of "Picasso" and the texts of his son Claude where he evokes the heterogeneous objects picked up by his father in the landfills to develop a sculpture, generally in plaster.
Seeing what is hidden inside these sculptures seems interesting to me. We contact Laboratoires du Louvre for technical assistance.
The new director of the Picasso Museum, Anne Baldassari is enthusiastic.
Given the difficult conditions of handling the sculptures, the production lasts an entire year. They are very fragile, can only be touched by specialists and you can only work outside the opening hours of the museum, which implies overtime for staff etc.
Technicians from Laboratoires du Louvre arrive in the evening and bombard each work with X-rays. The first test shot is developed in the museum's toilets.
The exhibition is announced for September 2007. The museum's finances are proving insufficient, and it is our responsibility to seek partners. We first contact Natexis bank. The word of the bank's communication at that time was "See through": that's good.
The Siemens company by learning the project, wishes to be part of it and offers a demonstration of new software which makes it possible to see the path of a material penetrating another, such as metal or wooden structures covered with plaster.
It seems to me that this can be a good way to see the details of the internal construction better.
Siemens joins the adventure, brings his huge machinery in a gigantic truck, which blocks the adjacent street of the museum with the assistance of the gendarmes for a few days.
The "nice" owl surprises with the violence of the big nails planted in its assembly.
In a plaster sculpture by Marie-Thérèse with a prominent nose and breasts there is a fragile metal silhouette of a dancer. Unconscious of the artist still married to Olga and in love with Marie -Thérèse who expresses herself? The desire to hide a woman he wants to leave? Or simply a support for a sculpture he was able to buy from Sennelier, his supplier?
The photographs obtained by the scanning technique recall images of Georgia O'Keeffe which carry a note which I read as "erotic".
The adventure is fascinating, the exhibition very successful and the catalog published by the Beaux Arts.
The photographs, in very large formats, leave for Shanghai in 2010 at the Universal Exhibition. A small chamber music orchestra accompanies the opening and we all have a white flower pinned to the lapels of our jackets.
See you next timeBasia Embiricos