Anselm Kiefer Collides with CERN

Geneva -- After a colossal retrospective of Anselm Kiefer's work at the Royal Academy, it would seem that the artist has turned his attention to visiting a monumental location for further inspiration.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network accompanied Kiefer on a visit to CERN -- Europe's experimental nuclear collider

The visit began with a tour of Kiefer's retrospective at the RA, which was not only monumental in scope, but also in the scale of the artist's individual works.

Many of the works had huge proportions, such as Kiefer's 'Ash Flower', a painting that took 14 years to create and measures 4 meters by 7 meters. One can see the artist's fascination with scale and the trajectory of existentialism might lead him to some interesting locations.

It might come as little surprise that the artist decided to visit CERN, Europe's particle physics center near Geneva, where Kiefer met leading scientists.

The artist ventured under a section of the gargantuan Hadron Collider to see one of the detectors for himself.

One could imagine how this might affect any artist, as the detectors at CERN are truly massive, and complex 'sculptural' objects - not to mention being the height of a cathedral.

The leader of the program International Arts@Cern, Ariane Koek, organized the day, which was instigated by the curator Kathleen Soriano, a curator of the artist's recent retrospective in London's.

The artist was apparently delighted to meet leading scientists based at CERN -- who include experts in String Theory, biophysics, the origins of materials including lead and diamonds, as well as atomic physics. "They deal with so many of his preoccupations -- deep time, how the universe came to be," Koek says, adding, "I threw in a bit of anti-matter."

Afterwards the artist sent each of the scientists that he met on the day an inscribed copy of the publication accompanying the RA exhibition, which closed on 14 December.

Surely inspiring for any artist? After all, there is more than a little of the alchemist in Kiefer. As for the artist's comment about lead, it is a poetically telling one that lead was the only material heavy enough to carry the weight of human history.

For this artist, universal truths are as important as highlighting the national memory. His paintings are buried under layer after layer of ash, as if the sediments of time, or the remnants of stars and people. Perhaps CERN is the perfect location to create new ideas.

Koek added "I could see Anselm's imagination spiral," after the artist was introduced to theoretical physicist Luis Alvarez-Gaumé, who discussed how gravity plays a role in time.

Kiefer was also rather impressed by the work of Monika Stachura, a biophysicist who is researching how copper, which is formed by stars, is also found in the human body. "That really blasts everyone's imagination -- we hold the birth of stars in our own bodies," Koek concluded.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video introduces us to the exciting arts program at CERN.