Signatures of the Invisible

"Signatures of the Invisible" is an unique collaboration between contemporary artists and contemporary physicists which has the potential to help redefine the relationship between science and art. "Signatures of the Invisible" is jointly organised by the London Institute - the world's largest college of art and design and CERN*, the world's leading particle physics laboratory.

12 leading visual artists:

  • Roger Ackling (GB)
  • Jérôme Basserode (FR)
  • Sylvie Blocher (FR)
  • Richard Deacon (GB)
  • Bartholomeu dos Santos (PT)
  • Patrick Hughes (GB)
  • Anish Kapoor (GB)
  • Ken McMullen (GB)
  • Tim O'Riley (GB)
  • Paola Pivi (IT)
  • Helen Storey (GB)
  • Monica Sand (SE)

from 5 European countries are working with scientists and technicians at CERN to make original pieces of art which respond to the preoccupations of modern physics. These works of art will be drawn together into an exhibition which, as from March 2001, will tour major galleries in Europe, Japan and the USA.

Physics research of the 20th century has a daily impact on all of us, computers, nuclear power, atomic weapons, microchips, television, internet, video. However, the world of art has made little comment or reflection on this colossal change in culture. Perhaps this is because Science has not been seen as culture, but has remained cocooned as a difficult activity reserved for a small group of specialists and the artists have generally ignored it. A paradox has developed, societies are now largely defined by their scientific skill and yet the world of art, a mirror of society, has so far made little comment.

The laws of physics are not going to go away. Although these laws are no longer intuitive - relativity, antimatter, quantum mechanics are how Nature works. Sooner or later the artist will have to confront the challenge of representing and commenting on these foundations of human life. Never has there been a better opportunity as the new media of, video, computer graphics, again direct spin offs of physics research, give new possibilities for presenting apparently abstruse scientific concepts.

After preliminary visits to CERN, which allowed the artists to discuss with physicists, visit the experiments and understand the potential of CERN's workshops, they are now all active at CERN. Their projects range from engravings based on particle collisions, installations around non-radioactive Roman lead, metal sculpture in collaboration with CERN workshop technicians, computer art, print making, a collection of fashion figures and video art.

It is already clear that both cultures, the artists and the scientists, are researching and experimenting; using different tools certainly but united by curiosity and passion. "Signatures of the Invisible" is showing that art and science can have thrilling cross-fertilisation if the necessary networks are set up to facilitate contact between researchers from different cultures.

Diary of Exhibition Dates:

February - April 2001 : London, Atlantis Gallery
November 2001 - February 2002 :Geneva, Centre d'Art Contemporain
April - June 2002 : Stockholm
November 2002 - February 2003 : Lisbon, Gulbenkian Gallery
April - June 2003 :  France
November 2003 - Febuary 2004 : Japan/USA
April - June 2004: Athens/USA/Japan/Australia

London Institute contact :

Michael Benson, Project Manager
65 Davies Street, London W1Y 2DA
Tel. 0044 (0) 20 7514 8087
Fax. 0044 (0) 20 7514 6248
email : m.benson@linst.ac.uk

Footnote(s)

* CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.   Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.

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