Nikos Papadopoulos' book The Allure of Obsession: A Dialogue

The Allure of Obsession: a dialogue between an artist and a physicist

08 Aug 2023

The book The Allure of Obsession presents the dialogue between artist Nikos Papadopoulos and theoretical physicist Yannis Florakis, who met during the artist’s residency at CERN

What might a theoretical physicist and an artist have in common regarding their way of working? How does a layperson perceive a scientific task that involves concepts that are obscure even to experts in similar fields? These questions come to the mind when reading The Allure of Obsession, the result of conversations between an artist and a theoretical physicist at CERN.

In 2015, Greek artist Nikos Papadopoulos was in residence at CERN. He was awarded the Accelerate Greece, a residency award run in partnership with the Onassis Foundation. At CERN, Papadopoulos worked on his artistic proposal entitled The Garden of Particles, which explored his interest in the working methods of scientists and artists. 

During his stay, he met theoretical physicist Yannis Florakis, and they quickly bonded over their shared interest in the creative process. The fruit of their exchanges is the book The Allure of Obsession. Starting with the concept of an equation, the conversation then moves on to symmetry, beauty in physics and art, the role of intuition, and the research processes in theoretical physics compared to the process of creating a work of art. The dialogue goes even further, touching on the psychological dimensions of scientific and artistic work, experimenting with the development of a common language between science and art, and emphasising the fact that all human work is judged and evaluated by a community.

In 2024, Papadopolous will present the solo exhibition The Garden of Particles, featuring a new series of works inspired by his residency at the Laboratory.