Nuclei of future knowledge: climate change, clean nuclear energy, new imaginaries between art and science

A conversation between Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and Stefano Buono

Climate change forces us to radically reinvent and decarbonise our energy production systems. Is nuclear power a huge step forward in this process? Can art in alliance with science allow us to face our nuclear fears by remapping the imagery and images of the nuclei at the heart of life (of seeds, nuts and cells)?

What does it mean to eliminate the notion and reality of chain reactions in both scientific, philosophical and artistic terms? It is necessary to think in a disruptive and creative way between the arts and sciences to imagine the future.

In this conversation, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Director of Castello di Rivoli engages in conversation with Stefano Buono, physicist and co-founder of Newcleo, the next generation of safe nuclear energy based on particle accelerators and fission.

The talk is part of the Public Programs by the Castello di Rivoli and Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT for Naturecultures. Art and Nature from Arte Povera to today. From the Collections of the Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT, curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Director, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Marcella Beccaria, Chief Curator and Curator of the Collections, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, and Samuele Piazza, Senior Curator, OGR Torino.

The exhibition is organized by OGR Torino and Castello di Rivoli, with the extraordinary contribution of Fondazione CRT and the support of Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT, which since 2000 has enriched and enhanced the cultural and artistic heritage of the area in a international dimension.

The exhibition presents works mainly from the collection of the Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT, acquired between 2000 and 2021 thanks to Fondazione CRT: a synergy that has allowed Turin and Piedmont to build, in twenty years, one of the most significant collections of contemporary art in the world available to the public.


Stefano Buono is an accomplished Italian physicist and CERN alumno. Until January 2018, he was CEO and member of the board of directors of Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA), an international pharmaceutical radio company he founded in 2002 and acquired by Novartis in 2018 for $ 3.9 billion. In 2021, Buono co-founded and incorporated the British nuclear technology company newcleo, of which he is managing director. The company has set up its research group in Turin. In 2018 he founded Elysia Capital, his Family Office based in London and Turin, focused on social impact investments in the field of sustainable innovation, well-being, education, art and culture. Since 2018 Buono has been President of Planet Holding LTD, a world leader in the integration of intelligent and practical social innovation solutions in the design and development of affordable real estate projects. Buono is also President of LIFTT, a private company founded by the Links Foundation, whose founding institutions are the Polytechnic of Turin and the Compagnia di San Paolo. LIFTT focuses on stimulating and supporting technology transfer from research institutes, generating revenues and a positive impact through the economic exploitation of research and innovation results.

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev is a curator, museum director and author of numerous essays, catalogs and contemporary art history books. He is currently director of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art and of the Francesco Federico Cerruti Foundation in Rivoli-Turin, as well as being Visiting Professor at the University of Basel since 2022. In 2019 he received the Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. She was Edith Kreeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University (2013-2019) and was Getty Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in 2013. Italian and American citizen, born to a Bulgarian father and a Piedmontese mother in the United States United, she returned to Italy to finish her studies at the Universities of Genoa and Pisa in literature and philosophy. He began his career in art as an art critic for Flash Art, Reporter and Sole24Ore, an activity that he left to follow a curatorial path led by a work with international artists and poor Italian art including Giuseppe Penone, William Kentridge , Alighiero Boetti, Pierre Huyghe, Francis Alÿs, Mario and Marisa Merz, and Jannis Kounellis. After a period at Villa Medici in which she organized the summer exhibitions (1998-2000), she was chief curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center / A MoMA affiliated in New York in 1999-2001 where she inaugurated, among many others, an important Janet Cardiff’s exhibition in 2001 as well as Greater New York in 2000 and Animations in 2001. In 2002 he returned to work in Italy, as chief curator at Castello di Rivoli, then directed by Ida Gianelli. In 2008 she was Artistic Director of the 16th Sydney Biennale and in 2009 interim director of Castello di Rivoli. From 2010 to 2012 she was Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA (13), a project that was inaugurated in 2012. In 2015 she was Artistic Director of the 14th Istanbul Biennale. Later, he returns to Turin where he directs both the GAM Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Castello di Rivoli in 2016 and 2017. In 2018 he leaves the GAM to concentrate on managing the Castello di Rivoli and to design the agreement of collaboration with the Cerruti Foundation which opens as the third pole of the Rivoli museum complex in May 2019. Among his major publications is the monograph Arte Povera (London, Phaidon Press, 1999) as well as almost 70 other volumes. His general catalog of the Cerruti Collection comes out for the types of Umberto Allemandi publisher in 2022.