When science inspires art

On Tuesday 18 January 2011, artist Pipilotti Rist came to CERN to find out how science could provide her with a source of inspiration for her art and perhaps to get ideas for future work. Pipilotti, who is an eclectic artist always on the lookout for an original source of inspiration, is almost as passionate about physics as she is about art.


Ever Is Over All, 1997, audio video installation by Pipilotti Rist.  View of the installation at the National Museum for Foreign Art, Sofia, Bulgaria. © Pipilotti Rist. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Angel Tzvetanov.

Swiss video-maker Pipilotti Rist (her real name is Elisabeth Charlotte Rist), who is well-known in the international art world for her highly colourful videos and creations, visited CERN for the first time on Tuesday 18 January 2011.  Her visit represented a trip down memory lane, since she originally studied physics before becoming interested in pursuing a career as an artist and going on to develop her skills at the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna.

As an introduction to CERN and its activities, Ariane Koek, who is responsible for CERN’s new cultural policy, took Pipilotti Rist on a visit to ATLAS and ISOLDE. “This visit symbolised the objective of CERN's new cultural policy, which is to allow art and science to cohabit within the Organization. It is an excellent way for artists and scientists to exchange information and for artists to get inspiration for their work,” underlines Ariane.

To find out whether the spirit of CERN has left its mark on Pipilotti Rist’s work, we shall have to await her future creations.

by Anaïs Vernède