L'Oeil de la machine


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L'Oeil de la machine 2019

L'Oeil de la machine 2019

Generative and interactive virtual-reality installation

Musée Ingres Bourdelle, Montauban, France

Software: Claude Micheli

Until 15th December 2020

Musée Ingres Bourdelle
19, rue de l'Hôtel de ville
82000 Montauban


On the occasion of its reopening, the Ingres Bourdelle Museum invites Miguel Chevalier to present, through till December 2020, a new installation: L'Oeil de la Machine 2019. This work exhibited in the Hall of the Black Prince fits within the broader framework of the City of Montauban’s boundary-crossing project, undertaken around the theme “What Culture(s) for the Twenty-First Century? Between Memory and Innovation: Transmit!”, which is being organized during the year 2020 with the help of the services of the City of Montauban’s Department of Cultural Development.

This generative and interactive virtual-reality work designed specifically for the Ingres Bourdelle Museum revisits some of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s masterpieces. Various emblematic pictures executed by this painter metamorphose in real time with the help of a computer program. Sensors installed on the medieval vault capture the movements of each visitor, and these movements, picked up by a digital device, induce distortions in whatever image is being projected at the moment so that the images themselves undergo a process of tessellation that breaks them down into thousands of polygons. Pursuing in this way the anatomical distortions sought by Ingres, who preferred to sacrifice verisimilitude for beauty, this interactive installation is itself generative of new forms. The lines and contours of bodies, so important for this painter, are thereby accentuated, stretched to the extreme, as museumgoers make their way around the space.

With L'Oeil de la Machine 2019, which generates essentially algorithmic images governed by technologically based logics, Miguel Chevalier questions the materialization of images in the era of their electronic reproducibility.

This exhibition also bears witness to the inexhaustible inspiration Ingres’s works offer to the artists of today, including on the basis of techniques whose existence he was far from able to imagine. This discovery of Ingres’s influence on modern and contemporary artists can also be continued by paying a visit to the museum’s third floor.

A Film by Claude Mossessian