Signatures of the Invisible, an art exhibition inspired by the work being carried out at CERN, recently showed for several weeks at the Atlantis Gallery in London. The fruit of a close collaboration between CERN and the London Institute, a premier art and design school, this exhibition was the first public showing of the results of a unique interchange of ideas between artists and physicists.
“Throughout history, science and art have had a special relationship,” explained Michael Benson, director of communications at the London Institute. “Artists today are beginning to realize that science provides fertile territory for the imagination.”
In spite of the differences between the two disciplines, science and art have had similarly crucial roles to play in human civilization. Throughout history, great minds have embraced both disciplines – the most famous example being Leonardo da Vinci in Renaissance Europe.
However, although modern physics impacts on all aspects of daily life, from information technology and telecommunications to energy and medical imaging, today’s art world has responded little to the cultural upheavals of advancing science. No modern Leonardo has emerged as yet.
The artists involved in the Signatures of the Invisible project – Roger Ackling (UK), Jérôme Basserode (France), Sylvie Blocher (France), Richard Deacon (UK), Bartholomeu dos Santos (Portugal), Patrick Hughes (UK), Ken McMullen (UK), Tim O’Riley (UK), Paola Pivi (Italy) and Monica Sand (Sweden) – have worked with scientists and technicians at CERN to create original works of art that reflect the ideas and techniques of modern physics.
Preliminary visits to CERN, which allowed the artists to meet physicists, visit experiments and discover the potential of CERN’s workshops, led to two years of exchanges and close collaboration, which resulted in Signatures of the Invisible. The exhibition will re-open at Geneva’s Centre d’Art Contemporain in January 2002 before travelling to venues in Stockholm, Lisbon, Paris, Strasbourg, Brussels, Tokyo, Australia (venue to be announced) and New York.