Artistic transparency

As the Arts@CERN programme testifies, CERN is no stranger to the collision of science and art. Just before Christmas, the Slovak artist Ján Zoričák exhibited his glass artworks at CERN, some of which make use of crystals from the OPAL experiment. We take a look at the artist, the science that inspired him and the techniques that he uses.

It took 10 months to create the 22 glass artworks in the exhibition, six of which make use of lead glass from the calorimeter of OPAL, one of the four main LEP experiments. Ján Zoričák has been a glass sculptor for several decades. In his capable hands, glass seems to take on a new energy, as he uses the contrast in temperature when glass heated for up to 48 hours at extremely high temperatures is exposed to a very cold source until it fractures. The resulting cracks break up the homogeneity and regularity of the glass and play with light and shadow, an effect that is majestically reinforced by finishing and polishing work.

The glass artworks were exhibited during the week of 14 December in the “Pas Perdus” lobby area of the Main Building. Rolf Heuer, the outgoing Director-General of CERN and former spokesperson of the OPAL experiment, visited the exhibition and warmly congratulated the artist. Other members of the OPAL collaboration and members of the CERN Council were also able to enjoy this unique event.

One of the lead-glass sculptures from the collection was donated to CERN by the artist.

by Antonella Del Rosso