Claytonium Ray-O-Scope- 1987


The Claytonium Ray-O-Scope,is Clayton Bailey's imagined "15 th Century laboratory device", using the technologies of fire, optics, and magical illusion.

It is made of brass, copper, glass and stoneware ceramic, and uses a crystal of gold and of the previously unknown mineral, Claytonium to make unnatural radiation which allows the user to see through solid objects placed in front of the telescope on top of the device.

X-ray proof is seen when one's hand is placed between the two lenses, and viewed through the eyepiece. It appears that a hole has been temporarily but painlessly burned through the hand. Removal of the hand from the device restores the hand to normal condition. ( Hidden mirrors are used to create this optical illusion.)

Some critics have also interpreted this device as an "alchemist's treasure finding device" for the creation of gold from quartz crystals.

Claytonium Ray-O-Scope- 1987


36" X 36" X 24"

"Bailey's contraption, if you play along with it, can make you feel a fool for art."

Kenneth Baker - San Francisco Chronicle

"Claytonium Ray-O-Scope" was one of the first of a series of metal pseudo-scientific and alchemical devices based upon 15 th. Century technology.

Made primarily of copper and brass, and later, with stoneware ceramic resembling salt-glazed chemical ware that might have been depicted in drawings by Bruegel or Bosch.

These brass and copper sculptures led to a series of ceramic sculptures and stoneware pottery dealing with superstition and ancient technology, and these metal pieces were the transitional works between the life-size robot sculptures - ( 1978-1988 ) and the tobacco spit pottery - (1987-1997 ).


Drawing of "Leonardo's X-Ray Machine"- by Clayton Bailey