9th July 2020
Conrad Shawcross RA (b. 1977)
Imbued with an appearance of scientific rationality, Conrad Shawcross’s often monumental sculptures explore subjects that lie on the borders of geometry and philosophy, physics and metaphysics.
Inspired by different technologies, the artist’s structures may retain in appearance the authority of machines – yet their raison d’être remains elusive, filled with paradox and wonder. Some have a melancholy feel, while others tend to the sublime, substituting the purely functional for phenomenological experience.
Over two decades, Shawcross has paid tribute to some of the great pioneers and analysts, and considered specific moments or figures from the past. Shawcross’ art dons a cloak of rationality in order to conceal its more poetic heart. Interrogating what we take for granted and encouraging us to see beyond the physical and remember how limited our perception envelope really is.
Shawcross has completed numerous monumental public commissions across the world, including Paradigm (2016) outside the Francis Crick Institute in London, the 50-metre tall The Optic Cloak (2016) in Greenwich, the 18-metre tall Exploded Paradigm (2018) inside the atrium of the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia, Schism (2020) at Château La Coste in Provence, France, the 4.5-metre tall Enwrought Light Fracture (2022) in honour of the poet W.B. Yeats in Chiswick, and Manifold 5:4 (2023) at the Liverpool Street entrance to the Elizabeth Line. He has exhibited at institutions across the world, including Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut, USA, the National Gallery in London, ARTMIA in Beijing, and Château La Coste in France. Most recently, his largest survey show in the U.K. to date has been held at the Mathematical Institute, Oxford. He is represented by Victoria Miro in London, Tucci Russo in Italy, and Galerie Isa in India.
Shawcross was elected a Royal Academician at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in the category of Sculpture in 2013 and is one of the youngest members to be elected in the Academy’s history.
Image: ©️ Conrad Shawcross. Courtesy the artist. Photo by John-Paul Bland.