For the past decade, Arts at CERN has fostered the dialogue between art and physics through art residencies, commissions and exhibitions. Artists across all creative disciplines have been invited to CERN to experience how the big questions about our universe are pursued by fundamental science.
Since its foundation in 1954, CERN has been a place of inspiration to many artists. Before the arts programme was officially launched, several highly regarded artists visited the Laboratory, drawn to physics and fundamental science. As early as 1972, James Lee Byars was the first artist to visit the Laboratory and the only one, so far, to feature on the cover of the CERN Courier. Mariko Mori, Gianni Motti, Cerith Wyn Evans, John Berger and Anselm Kiefer are among the artists who came to CERN in the years that followed.
In 2022 we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first artistic residency organised by Arts at CERN, and the beginning of the programme’s activities. More than 200 artists have participated in the residencies, benefiting from the involvement of 400 scientists. Around 600 applications from 80 different countries are received every year. Over 20 new artworks have been commissioned since the residency programme began, and numerous education and outreach events take place every year.
The celebration of the 10th anniversary begins with the launch of the Arts at CERN podcast series. In each of the six episodes, one artist and one scientist will explore a theme that has inspired their artistic practice and their scientific research, respectively. Together, the podcast guests will look back at the artist’s residency and the creative encounters that it facilitated within the vibrant CERN community. The six themes selected for the anniversary podcast series are time, the invisible, nature, broken symmetries, extra dimensions and black holes. The first episode will feature the work of the very first artist in residence, Julius von Bismarck, who arrived at CERN in early 2012. He explores the topic of “extra dimensions”, in conversation with physicist Michael Doser. Both are introduced by Mónica Bello, curator and head of Arts at CERN, and Ana Prendes, content producer of Arts at CERN. In the following episodes, scientists John Ellis, Alessandra Gnecchi, Dorota Grabowska, Helga Timko and Tamara Vázquez-Schroeder converse with artists Rasheedah Phillips, Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt (Semiconductor), SU Wen-Chi, Suzanne Treister and Rosa Menkman. At the end of 2022, the anniversary celebrations with culminate in the publication of a collection of essays by artists, scientists and authors. This publication will be the fruit of Arts at CERN’s goal to inspire significant exchanges between art and physics, and to participate in an international cultural community eager to connect with CERN.
The anniversary marks ten years since the first artistic residency at CERN in spring 2012. However, CERN has a history of welcoming artists to its premises ever since the Lab’s foundation. Explore a non-comprehensive timeline of the history of arts engagement at CERN on Arts at CERN’s website.