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b. 1977, United Kingdom

Conrad Shawcross Biography

Exploring philosophy, physics, rationality, philosophy, and the intersection of art and science, Conrad Shawcross RA is known for his abstract, large-scale and technologically complex sculptures made from industrial materials.

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Given their geometric forms and technological construction, Conrad Shawcross' sculpture creations are often compared to scientific models and machines. His process has much in common with industrial production; from the initial stages of sketching ideas, he works with a team of engineers to create prototypes before fabricating works in his East London studio.

Life and Influences

Shawcross was born in 1977 in London, where he currently lives and works. The son of two writers and stepson of a painter, Shawcross attributes his interdisciplinary approach in part due to his childhood; growing up around creative activity, he soon discovered his own innate passion for making and taking things apart.

Shawcross studied at Chelsea School of Art and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art before completing an MFA from Slade School of Art in London. His exposure to literature, history and the science during his studies was influential in shaping his art practice; frequently poetic and playful, his works explore the nature of reality and the limits of perception.

Works and Inspirations

Throughout his career, Shawcross has experimented with geometry and topology through his modular, mechanical installations. Shawcross' works often pay tribute to pioneering scientists and thinkers of the past. One such work is the complex oak-and-string mechanical sculpture Paradigm (Ode to the Difference Engine) (2006): a nod to the English mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage, who designed a ground-breaking calculating machine in the 1820s. Similarly, the 2007 work Space Trumpet was inspired by the history of early acoustic mapping; and the steel sculpture series 'Slow Arc Inside a Cube' (2007–ongoing) was inspired by the discovery of the structure of pig insulin.

Shawcross is also known for his public and architectural installations. For the major commission Timepiece (2013), Shawcross transformed the main space of London's Roundhouse building into an eight-metre mechanised timekeeping device, which was made of over 700 parts and aimed to acquaint visitors with the primeval experience of measuring time.

In 2015, Shawcross was commissioned to create a series of permanent sculptures for Dulwich Park. Seeking to honour cast-iron works by Barbara Hepworth that were stolen from the site in 2011, Shawcross made a series of knot-like, cast-iron sculptures entitled 'Three Perpetual Chords'. The works, which the artist referred to as 'visual descriptions of musical chords', drew from his ongoing study of harmonic ratios in musical frequencies.

Other public commissions include the tall, tree-like metal sculptures entitled The Dappled Light of Sun (2015), installed in the Annenberg Courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts; Paradigm (2016), a 14-metre-tall geometric sculpture made of weathering steel outside London's Francis Crick Institute; The Optic Cloak (2016) at an energy centre in the Greenwich Peninsula; The Interpretation of Movement (a 9:8 in blue) (2017) at London's St Pancras International station; Exploded Paradigm (Philadelphia) (2018) for the lobby of the Comcast Technology Centre in Philadelphia; and Bicameral (2019) at London's Chelsea Barracks development.

For his 2021 exhibition The Measures of Change at Victoria Miro Gallery in Venice (2021), Shawcross featured delicate and complex geometric bronze forms from his 'Fracture' series (2018–ongoing) and a collection of works from his series 'Perimeter Studies' (2005–ongoing), which explore the geometric properties of the five platonic solids. He also showed a series of prints entitled 'Studies for The Patterns of Absence', inspired by the Venice canals near which the exhibition took place.

Exhibitions and Awards

Shawcross' works have been featured in group and solo exhibitions in major institutions around the world. Some such venues include: Science Museum, London (2019); Barbican Centre, London(2017); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2016–17); ArtScience Museum, Singapore (2017); Palazzo Fortuny, Venice (2015); Hayward Gallery, London (2013); Auckland Art Gallery (2014–15); Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2015); and Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE (2015).

Shawcross is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, and his works are part of many permanent collections, including Amorepacific Museum of Art, Seoul; British Council, UK; Museum of New South Wales, Sydney; MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart; The Saatchi Gallery, London; Tate, UK; Vervoordt Collection, Antwerp; and Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China.

He has recently had solo presentations at ARTMIA Foundation, Beijing (2014); the Roundhouse, London (2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); MUDAM, Luxembourg (2012); Science Museum, London (2011 - 2012); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011); and Oxford Science Park (2010). His work has also been exhibited internationally at institutions and events including the Royal Academy, London (2014); Mofo festival, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania (2014); the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); Grand Palais, Paris (2013); Hayward Gallery, London (2013); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2012); National Gallery, London (2012); Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel (2012); Centre d'Art Bastille, Grenoble (2012); Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence (2011); Park De Oude Warande, Tilburg (2011); Palazzo Fortuny, Venice (2011); Gervasuti Foundation, Venice (2011); CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2011); Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania (2011); and Kunsthal in Amersfoort (2010).

Leila Sajjadi | Ocula | 2021

Conrad Shawcross Featured Artworks

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Patterns of Absence E by Conrad Shawcross contemporary artwork sculpture
Conrad ShawcrossPatterns of Absence "E", 2021Painted steel
150 x 150 x 14 cm
Victoria Miro Enquire
Perimeter Studies (Octahedron structural) by Conrad Shawcross contemporary artwork sculpture
Conrad ShawcrossPerimeter Studies (Octahedron structural), 2021Weathered steel
19.4 x 17.5 x 22.3 cm
Victoria Miro Enquire
Perimeter Studies (Cube solid) by Conrad Shawcross contemporary artwork sculpture
Conrad ShawcrossPerimeter Studies (Cube solid), 2021Weathered steel
19.4 x 17.5 x 22.3 cm
Victoria Miro Enquire
Fracture (B14C25) by Conrad Shawcross contemporary artwork sculpture
Conrad ShawcrossFracture (B14C25), 2020Bronze
132.5 x 57 x 47 cm
Victoria Miro Enquire
Study for Exploded Paradigm (Philadelphia) by Conrad Shawcross contemporary artwork sculpture
Conrad ShawcrossStudy for Exploded Paradigm (Philadelphia), 2018Mirrored steel
320 x 96 x 96 cm
Victoria Miro Enquire
Fracture (B24B3) by Conrad Shawcross contemporary artwork sculpture
Conrad ShawcrossFracture (B24B3), 2018Black patinated steel
240 x 83 x 83 cm
Sold
Victoria Miro
Paradigm Optic (Silver) by Conrad Shawcross contemporary artwork sculpture
Conrad ShawcrossParadigm Optic (Silver), 2018Stainless steel
240 x 83 x 83 cm
Victoria Miro Enquire

Conrad Shawcross Recent Exhibitions

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Conrad Shawcross Represented By

Victoria Miro contemporary art gallery in Wharf Road, London, United Kingdom Victoria Miro London, New York, Venice

Conrad Shawcross In Ocula Magazine

Conrad Shawcross In Related Press

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Frieze Sculpture 2018: the highlights Related Press Frieze Sculpture 2018: the highlights 4 July 2018, Wallpaper*

Between Wimbledon and the FIFA World Cup, there's been plenty of distractions from London's unusually Mediterranean weather of late.

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Man of parts: Conrad Shawcross’ new ‘crazy machine’ spins into St Pancras International Related Press Man of parts: Conrad Shawcross’ new ‘crazy machine’ spins into St Pancras International 15 June 2017, Wallpaper*

The British artist Conrad Shawcross has a thing about harmony. And not some woolly idea of beauty in balance but harmony proper; the harmony of mathematical ratios and Pythagorean intervals, of chords

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Conrad Shawcross discusses 'Monolith (Optic)', on view as part of Frieze Sculpture Park until 8 January 2017 Related Press Conrad Shawcross discusses 'Monolith (Optic)', on view as part of Frieze Sculpture Park until 8 January 2017 8 December 2016, Victoria Miro Editorial

Conrad Shawcross is the British artist behind three of the most high-profile public works unveiled in London over the past 18 months: Three Perpetual Chords, 2015, a series of knot-like sculptures commissioned for Dulwich Park, which draws from the artist’s ongoing study of harmonic ratios; Paradigm, 2016, a permanent installation at the...

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London's new landmark is a triumph of engineering Related Press London's new landmark is a triumph of engineering 6 October 2016, Apollo

Over the past few years, Conrad Shawcross has become a master at blending his extraordinary sculptures into London’s urban and suburban fabric. The Dappled Light of the Sun graced the Royal Academy’s courtyard during the 2015 Summer Exhibition and Frieze Sculpture Park at Regent’s Park later that year, while Three Perpetual...

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Conrad Shawcross In Video & Audio

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