I can't control the meaning of a work once I've made it and if I could it wouldn’t be an artwork. It has to live beyond what I intended it to mean, and the more it’s interpreted in unpredictable ways, the more successful it is.
Conrad Shawcross, RA, was born in 1977 in London, where he currently lives and works. Imbued with an appearance of scientific rationality, Conrad Shawcross' 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, they remain enigmatic, filled with paradox and wonder. Some have an absurdist melancholy feel, while others tend to the sublime, substituting the purely functional for phenomenological experience. Ultimately, Shawcross's art questions what we take for granted and encourages us to see beyond the physical.
Throughout his career, Shawcross has experimented with ideal geometries and topologies; these constructions are conceived as systems, sometimes modular, sometimes mechanical, which could be theoretically extended infinitely into space. In these and other sculptures, Shawcross has paid tribute to some of the great pioneers and analysts, and considered specific moments or figures from the past. Paradigm (Ode to the Difference Engine), 2006 references the life of Charles Babbage; Space Trumpet, 2007 is inspired by the history of early acoustic mapping; while Slow Arc Inside a Cube, 2008 takes its inspiration from the scientist Dorothy Hodgkin's discovery of the structure of pig insulin.
Major exhibitions and commissions for 2020 include Escalations, a solo exhibition at Chateau La Coste, Provence, France, where the artist's monumental new commission Schism (Château La Coste) will be on view; Pioneering Places, a major public art work for Ramsgate Royal Harbour, UK; and an exhibition to mark the 800th anniversary of Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, UK.
Major commissions and works in the public realm include: Bicameral, a permanent commission for Chelsea Barracks, curated by Futurecity, London (2019); Exploded Paradigm, permanent commission, Comcast Technology Centre, Philadelphia, USA (2018); The Interpretation of Movement (a 9:8 in blue), HS1 Terrace Wires commission in conjunction with The Royal Academy, St Pancras International station, London (on view during 2017); The Optic Cloak, permanent commission for The Energy Centre Greenwich Peninsula, London (2016); Paradigm, permanent commission for the Francis Crick Institute, London (2016); Three Perpetual Chords, permanent commission for Dulwich Park, London, curated and managed by the Contemporary Art Society for Southwark Council (2016). Shawcross will create a major new public artwork for the Crossrail Elizabeth line at Liverpool Street, London. Titled Manifold, the bronze sculpture will be positioned outside the Moorgate entrance of the new station when it opens in 2022.
The artist has had solo exhibitions at international institutions including: Yorkshire Sculpture International, Dean Clough, Halifax, UK (2019); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut, USA (2018); the New Art Centre, Roche Court, East Winterslow, Salisbury, UK (2015); ARTMIA Foundation, Beijing, China (2014); MUDAM, Luxembourg (2012); Science Museum, London, UK (2011- 2012); Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2011); and Oxford Science Park, UK (2010).