“Exploring the Unknown” Exhibition – CERN Science Gateway


Although art and theoretical physics may seem like poles apart, they share a deep connection. The synergy between these disciplines lies in their shared goal of understanding the fundamental nature of the world around us. Both artists and theoretical physicists strive to create models that can help us unravel the complexities of the Universe.


The project Exploring the Unknown:

Set in the dynamic environment of the CERN Science Gateway, Exploring the Unknown is more than an art-science exhibition; it’s a space that bridges the gap between the known and the unknown, prompting reflection on some of the most profound and universal questions.

The project is designed to explore three main themes – Space & Time, the Void (the Quantum Vacuum), and the Invisible (Dark Matter) – and uses art as a means of expressing and exploring the creativity that is awoken when one contemplates the Universe.

Curiosity and wonder in the face of the Universe’s mysteries underpin the exhibition’s narrative. The space will feature a diverse representation of artists and mediums aspiring to create an array of multisensory experiences that provide new ways of engaging with audiences.


The commissioned works:

Each commissioned artwork is loaned to CERN for a three-year period before being returned to the artist. The artworks will then be exhibited in other venues, providing increased exposure and reach for the project beyond the local area close to CERN.

In the autumn of 2023, CERN installed the first series of artworks commissioned specifically for the Science Gateway. Four artists were selected to create new works for the opening exhibition: Julius von Bismarck and Benjamin Maus (DE), Ryoji Ikeda (JPN), Chloé Delarue (CH), and Yunchul Kim (KOR).

These artists are all former residents of CERN's renowned arts and science programme, “Arts at CERN”. They have interacted with scientists, visited the Laboratory, and conducted research on the exhibition's themes.

CERN has already chosen the first artist to be commissioned in the next iteration of Exploring the Unknown in 2026: Rosa Barba, a German-Italian artist based in Berlin, who will create a new and impressive installation inspired by the themes of the Invisible and Dark Matter.


The impact:

Besides providing a fruitful synergy between arts and science, the exhibition will serve as a dynamic and engaging viewing experience for visitors to the Science Gateway.

It will showcase the incredible work of multiple artists but also explore new horizons in contemporary art through the lens of science.

It will pave the way for innovative and thought-provoking projects that blur the lines between the two fields.



Sponsoring Exploring the Unknown at CERN's Science Gateway is an excellent way for organisations, foundations, and businesses to engage in the creation of an art-science exhibition. The CERN & Society Foundation is currently looking for sponsors for the next iteration of Exploring the Unknown in 2026.

Organisations and businesses sponsoring this venture will not only support the exhibition's development but also foster a meaningful interaction between science and art. They will facilitate a dialogue extending beyond traditional boundaries, helping visitors to consider their place in the cosmos.

This is YOUR chance to contribute to an endeavour that illuminates the mysteries of our Universe, transforming curiosity into a shared experience of awe and wonder.

Contact us at partnerships.fundraising@cern.ch.