Artistic Thinking in Scientific Research


  • Magda Stanová Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Czech Republic



artistic thinking, athematics, science, non-verbal thinking, verbal overshadowing


Doctoral programs in the fine arts, instead of coming up with their own ways of doing things, tend to adopt standards from the humanities, which themselves tend to adopt standards from science. Because of being preoccupied with trying to look like other disciplines, artistic thinking within artistic doctorates gets suppressed. But if we look into science directly and not through this second-hand approach, we can find aspects of scientific thinking that are closer to art than to the humanities.

In this paper, I give examples of artistic thinking in the work of various scientists and mathematicians: a non-fiction book that uses fiction (Douglas Hofstadter’s book Gödel, Escher, Bach), a linguistic analysis that concludes with a story (Livia Polanyi’s book Telling the American Story), scientific lectures with unusual formal aspects (Roger Penrose’s “VJing” of multiple layers of foils through an overhead projector, David Deutsch’s Lectures on Quantum Computation), and a collective hiding behind a fictional mathematician (Nicolas Bourbaki). I also briefly introduce the problem of verbal overshadowing and the effects it may have on the creative process in art.

Author Biography

Magda Stanová, Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Czech Republic

is a visual artist interested in analyses of creative processes and perception of art, theory of photography, as well as urban development and cartography, especially from the point of view of a pedestrian. Her research-based practice results in artistic forms like visual essays and lecture-like events. She authored two books – Algorithms in Art (2016) and W cieniu fotografii (2008) – and coauthored the publication The Pedestrian’s Venice (2017). Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at EFA Project Space, New York; Angus Hughes Gallery, London; Školská 28, Prague; ThreeWalls, Chicago; Fremantle Arts Centre, Australia; ZPAF i S-ka, Krakow; and Shedhalle, Zurich. She holds an MFA in photography from Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, an MFA in new genres from the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied as a Fulbright scholar, and a PhD in fine arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where she now teaches in the doctoral program.




How to Cite

Stanová, M. (2023). Artistic Thinking in Scientific Research. Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis, (109), 84–100.