After the Explosion, Before the Collapse, Victoria Miro Mayfair, 14 St George St, London W1S 1FE, 13 September – 27 October 2018


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Victoria Miro is delighted to announce an exhibition of new works by Conrad Shawcross. After the Explosion, Before the Collapse marks a significant development of the artist’s Paradigm sculptures and features two new mechanical works in addition to a unique new sequence of photographic prints created by firing a laser through a series of faults in glass fragments. United by an aesthetic akin to that of scientific models, the abstract works continue to deal with notions of time, entropy and disappearance.

Conrad Shawcross’s Paradigms are an ongoing exploration of the tetrahedron, geometrically a four-sided non-tessellating form and conceptually the symbol of an indivisible unit of matter. As a building block, the tetrahedron behaves as an irrational number, creating sequences that in theory, extend into infinity without repetition. Major examples include Paradigm, 2016, a permanent installation commissioned by the Francis Crick Institute in King’s Cross, which is one of the tallest public sculptures in central London. The title of the works refers to the notion of the paradigm shift – a leap of imagination that jolts scientific enquiry forwards and collapses pre-existing notions of what is true – identified by the American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn (1922–1996).

The previous series of Paradigms embody the epistemological metaphor of the ascending stack and display a visceral physicality. By contrast, the latest sculptures are far more ethereal, and seem to almost disappear as they rise up and expand. While strikingly distinct both conceptually and aesthetically, the new works still obey the same geometric parameters and constraints and, as a result, the new forms contain a central helical stem. The twisting spine supports a series of branches which in turn support hundreds of fragments that as a whole echo the once solid surface of the Paradigm skin. For Shawcross, an aesthetic of the designed, scientific and the rational serves as a device to cloak more poetic, philosophical and metaphysical themes, which are foregrounded in these new works. A variety of surfaces and materials articulate the field array; dark surfaces counterpoint the reflective or semi-transparent skin to create interference and disruptive reactions to light, all of which further accentuate feelings of dissolution and perplexity, drawing viewers into an ever-changing experience as they move among the works.

Speaking about the new Paradigm works, Shawcross notes that ‘A potential way to think of them is as some sort of complex model by a scientist or a mathematician. While they appear to be functional or of rational intent, their meaning remains elusive. They contain a temporal element that seems to convey growth, entropy or collapse. On one side they could represent a complex chemical such as a protein chain or amino acid, but to complicate this interpretation, a strong sense of the passage of time runs through the form. They perhaps capture an instant after an explosion but before the collapse of the system that they chart, like a Muybridge sequence; the story of a complex system and its expansion from birth to death. One of the key ways that scientists talk about time is in the dispersal of heat, that time is defined by energy dissipating. In this way, these new works also contain a sense of expansion or a loss of heat, which in turn relates to the expansion of the universe and its possible contraction. This preoccupation aligns with the concerns of my previous works, such as the early rope machines.’

Placed above the new Paradigms is Folding Shield, 2018, a new mechanical work that, displayed in a corner of the gallery, slowly folds in on itself, its mirrored, petal-like surfaces creating an incrementally changing and destabilising view of the gallery and the other works contained within it. Displayed in the gallery window, Optoscope, 2018, is the culmination of years of investigation into interference and disrupted surfaces created through a moiré pattern. Two perforated surfaces come in and out of phase to create a shifting pattern that appears almost holographic as it swarms and evolves, reacting to the movements of viewers passing by and the changing play of light upon it. The work makes use of similar techniques developed in sculptures such as Optic Labyrinth (Arrangement I), on display as part of Frieze Sculpture 2018.

Referring to the term for a defect in a lens, Aberrations are a new series of unique prints created by exposing traditional photographic paper to the beam of a laser after it has passed through a fragment of glass. Usually considered a thing to be avoided at all costs, Shawcross has deliberately sought to find these unwanted faults and projected the shadow of them onto the paper, akin to Dorothy Hodgkin’s early crystal radiography experiments and Man Ray’s rayographs. The Aberrations point to the creative potential of failed or imperfect models as art, just as Shawcross’s use of failed or ambiguous models and machines throughout his career has been informed not by failure per se but by our capacity to perceive. In tandem, materials more commonly associated with bulk, mass and inflexibility, transform in the artist’s hands to the delicate and mercurial; acting as vehicles to prompt some of our most enduring questions about our place in the universe.


Frieze Sculpture 2018, Regent’s Park, London, 4 July – 7 October 2018

Optic Labyrinth - CS Sketch

Frieze Sculpture returns to Regent’s Park for three months this summer, featuring works by 25 contemporary and modern artists, presented by world-leading galleries and selected by Clare Lilley (Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park).

Conrad Shawcross will be exhibiting Optic Labyrinth (Arrangement I) a brand new, immersive installation, commissioned specially for the event and presented by Victoria Miro Gallery.

Frieze Sculpture 2018
English Gardens of Regent’s Park, London, UK
5am-9:30pm Jul, 5am-9pm Aug, 5am-8pm Sep, 5am-7pm Oct


MATRIX 179, Wadsworth Atheneum, Connecticut, USA, 21 June – 21 October 2018


MATRIX 179 marks Conrad’s first museum exhibition in America, and features the colossal sculpture Monolith (Optic) on Main Street in front of the museum. The accompanying installation will include additional sculptures, models, related drawings, and a new, slow-moving light machine.

Artist Gallery Talk | with Conrad Shawcross
Thursday 21 June 2018
Opening reception: 5pm
Artist talk: 6pm
Free admission

Curator Gallery Talk | with Patricia Hickson
The Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art
Friday 3 August: Midday
Free with museum admission

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 600 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103
11am-5pm Wed, Thu & Fri | 10am-5pm Sat & Sun


Art Capital: Art for the Elizabeth line, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 13 March – 6 May 2018


In the first overview of the Crossrail artworks, material such as maquettes, sketches and prototypes are displayed in the gallery’s project and archive spaces. The exhibition reveals the artists’ ideas and the complex process for turning artistic proposals into deliverable public art.

The exhibition includes a maquette and drawings by Conrad Shawcross, reflecting the development of his proposed Manifold 5:4 piece, which will be sited outside the Moorgate entrance of the Liverpool Street station of the new Elizabeth line.

Whitechapel Gallery 77-82 Whitechapel High St London E1 7QX
11am-6pm Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun | 11am-9pm Thu


Crossrail Art Programme Commission, London, announced 13 March 2018


Conrad Shawcross has been unveiled as one of the final two artists selected to create a major new work of art for the Crossrail Art Programme; a unique series of nine public artworks that are being integrated into seven stations of the new Elizabeth line, due to open in December this year.

Manifold 5:4, 2018, will be a bronze sculpture positioned outside the Moorgate entrance of the Liverpool Street station. Taking inspiration from musical harmony, Shawcross has used a machine based on the Victorian harmonograph (with its two pendulums that draw the oscillation of a sound wave) to map the complex shape of a specific piano chord that is falling into silence.


Harbour Arts Sculpture Park, Hong Kong, 22 February – 11 April 2018

Paradigm (Solid), 2014, Kitmin-Lee The Dappled Light of the Sun I, 2015, Kitmin-Lee

Hong Kong’s first international sculpture park, Harbour Arts Sculpture Park transforms Hong Kong’s iconic harbour front with artworks by established and emerging local and international contemporary artists. The display includes two works by Conrad: The Dappled Light of the Sun, I, 2015 and Paradigm (Solid), 2014.

Harbour Arts Sculpture Park, Tamar Park, Harcourt Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong


Frieze Sculpture Park, Regent’s Park, London, 14 – 17 October 2015

Conrad Shawcross’ The Dappled Light of the Sun, 2015 will be installed in Regent’s Park as part of Frieze Sculpture Park . Selected by Clare Lilley (Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park), Frieze Sculpture Park 2015 comprises 16 new and historical works, set in the English Gardens between Frieze Masters and Frieze London.


Frieze London, Stand B3, 14 – 17 October 2014

Victoria Miro will show a selection of works by Conrad Shawcross at Frieze London.


GLOBALE: EXO-Evolution, ZKM, Karlsruhe, 31 October 2015 – 28 February 2016

Conrad Shawcross’ The Blind Aesthetic, 2011 features in this exhibition, which focuses on the artistic use of new technologies and opens up views into the future, in various modules.
The Dappled Light of the Sun at Beyond Limits, Chatsworth House, 14 September – 25 October

And talk on 20 Sept


Sensory Systems, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, 12 September – 7 November 2015


Light Show, Sharjah Art Centre, 21 September – 11 December 2015


Inverted Spires and Descending Folds, Victoria Miro Gallery II, 10 June – 31 July 2015

Victoria Miro will present an exhibition of new sculptures in steel and cast bronze by Conrad Shawcross this summer. Considered “maquettes” – some for realised commissions, and others propositions for works on a monumental scale – this body of work focusses on two lines of enquiry: Shawcross’s ongoing explorations of the four-sided tetrahedron as a tessellating form in his Paradigm series, and the dynamic visual potential of harmonics in his Manifold works. Installed as a singular sculptural field, the works bear relationships to both architecture and the body, and elicit a subtle line between structure and nature, the metaphysical and the molecular.


Commission for Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, 8 June – 16 August 2015

Conrad Shawcross will create a new site-specific installation for the Annenberg Courtyard for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2015. Entitled The Dappled Light of the Sun, the large-scale, immersive work will consist of a group of five steel ‘clouds’ which will inhabit the courtyard’s central space. The branching cloud-like forms will be made up of thousands of tetrahedrons and stand at over six metres high and weigh five tonnes each.

Conrad Shawcross, The Dappled Light of the Sun, 2015 in production.
Photograph by Marc Wilmot. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery, London.


Solo Exhibition, New Art Centre, 23 May – 26 July 2015

From 23 May – 26 July 2015 Conrad Shawcross will be showing a body of work at the New Art Centre, Roche Court, Wiltshire.


Proportio, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 9 May – 22 November 2015

The exhibition PROPORTIO examines the role that proportion plays in our lives and the complex universe in which we live, and includes Manifold 9:8, 2012, by Conrad Shawcross.


Counterpoint, Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 14 June 2015

To coincide with the launch of Three Perpetual Chords, the Dulwich Picture Gallery will display a selection of smaller maquettes of the park works, Three Perpetual Chord Studies. The light work Counterpoint, 2006 is also on display in the gallery’s mausoleum space.


Three Perpetual Chords, Dulwich Park, London. Launch at 2pm, 18 April 2015


A new series of sculptures by Conrad Shawcross will be unveiled in Dulwich Park in London on 18 April 2015.

The sculptures, entitled Three Perpetual Chords, have been commissioned by Southwark Council in partnership with the Contemporary Art Society, as a public art legacy to the Two Forms Divided Circle Barbara Hepworth sculpture stolen from the park in 2011.

Three Perpetual Chords draws from the artist’s ongoing study of harmonics and represent The Octave, The Fifth and The Fourth within the Western harmonic scale. They will form a trail in the northern end of the park, with each just visible from the last, and will rest lightly on the grass, emphasising the juxtaposition between an industrial material and its arcadian environment.

The knot-like sculptures are cast in spheroidal cast iron – a ductile material used within urban settings  – which in time react to their environment, forming colours of deep red, blue/blacks and browns, and areas of polished silver where they are frequently touched or sat on.

Conrad Shawcross said: “It has been a great pleasure to make a new, permanent commission for Dulwich Park. Three Perpetual Chords are a counterpoint to a traditional civic sculpture in that the loops invite approach, play and physical interaction. These knot-like forms host a void within them and this is a subtle reference to Hepworth’s work, in which the hole is ubiquitous. I hope they become meeting points, romantic destinations, and encourage playfulness while remaining beguiling and provoking figures on the horizon.”

For more information and a short video about the making of the work, please click here.

Three Harmonic Projections, Careyes Foundation, Mexico until 17 February 2015

Conrad Shawcross has recently undertaken a residency as part of the Contemporary Art and Community Program in Careyes Mexico. Shawcross worked for one month to stage a site-specific project at the Careyes Art Space as well as to collaborate with school children from the area through a series of arts educational workshops.

The artist’s larger practice is invested in negotiating the intersections of the fields of philosophy and science. These Platonistic investigations and experiments give rise to poetic and formalist sculptures and installations. His lexicon relies on a vacillating relationship between the empirical and the uncertain.

On view at the Careyes Art Space is an iteration of an ongoing series of Plosion sculptures comprised of aluminum and stained glass, studies in the ideal, the real, the cosmological, the temporal and the phenomenological. These constructivist objects are diagrammatic and enact an ambivalence that sits somewhere between becoming or coming undone, or in the words of the artist “explosion or implosion.” At the heart of the project in Careyes is a machine comprised of steel mesh, a mechanical system and light, a rendition of the piece Slow Arc Inside a Cube. This machine materializes Plato’s cave composed of light, cage and shadow. The final intervention produced in conjunction with local artisans, the artist describes as a monumental instrument, a harmonograph. It is this central work that has served as the instrument used for the artist’s workshops in dialogue with local school children to produce an archive of drawings generated from this elemental sculptural device. In collaboration with Shawcross, each student has created a drawing working with this machine.


Da Vinci: Shaping the Future, ArtScience Museum, Singapore, 15 November 2014 – 17 May 2015

Da Vinci: Shaping the Future takes a bold and contemporary approach to the life and genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Beyond the presentation of original masterpieces from Da Vinci’s renowned Codex Atlanticus, five contemporary art installations are included in the exhibition, including Conrad Shawcross’ Projections of the Perfect Third.


Primal Architecture, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 8 November 2014 – 1 March 2015

Primal Architecture borrows its title from an iconic work by Mike Kelley, Primal Architecture, 1995. It includes artworks by Mike Kelley, Jeremy Deller, Conrad Shawcross, Kevin Atherton, Linder, Jesse Jones and Bedwyr Williams.


Light Show at Aukland Art Gallery, 11 October 2014 – 8 February 2015

S_A_C_IV (1)
Light Show, Aukland Art Gallery, New Zealand, until 8 February 2015 and MCA Sydney, 16 April – 5 July 2015
Light Show explores the experiential and phenomenal aspects of light. The exhibition includes Slow Arc Inside a Cube IV, 2009, by Conrad Shawcross.


Conrad Shawcross – Timepiece at Berwaldhallen, Stockholm extended until May 2015

Timepiece is currently installed at Berwaldhallen, Stockholm above the Swedish Radio Orchestra as part of the Interplay season. The work will remain at the concert hall until the season finale on 21 May, featuring Bejamin Britten’s Requiem and a lecture by Simon Schama.


The Vinyl Factory and Conrad Shawcross present The Ada Salon


Dillon & Clervaux
Holly Herndon
Mira Calix
Tamara Barnett-Herrin & Mylo11 – 19 October 2014 | Monday – Sunday | 11am – 5pm
23 – 31 October 2014 | Thursday – Sunday | 11am – 5pmThe Vinyl Factory Space at Brewer Street Car Park, London W1F 0STSpecial presentation of works by Conrad Shawcross, Idris Khan & Yayoi Kusama at Schloss Sihlberg

This special presentation by Victoria Miro in Schloss Sihlberg, Zürich considers the work of three artists, Idris Khan, Yayoi Kusama and Conrad Shawcross, focussing on an intersection of their practices through the use of abstraction and repetition. The presentation runs from 14 – 22 June 2014.


Conrad Shawcross solo exhibition at ARTMIA, Beijing

Solo exhibition entitled Geometry of Mind at the ARTMIA Foundation, Beijing until 28 August 2014.


Conrad Shawcross at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Conrad Shawcross, who was recently named a Royal Academician, presents work at this year’s Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London from 9 June – 17 August 2014.


Epicentre: conversations and discussions between artists at Parra & Romero, Ibiza

Conrad Shawcross exhibiting at Parra & Romero as part of the group show Epicentre: conversations and discussions between artists from 31 May – 15 September 2014.

Conrad Shawcross named as Dulwich Park commission winner

Three Perpetual Chords, has been selected from a shortlist also including proposals by artists Anya Galaccio, Ryan Gander and Eva Rothschild. Following a public consultation in which over 400 people gave their views about the new sculpture both online and through an on-site exhibition in the park, the Dulwich Park Commission Steering Group discussed the outcome and came to a consensus to name Shawcross as the artist who best fits the commissioning principles originally set out.

Three Perpetual Chords proposes a series of cast iron sculptures, each created in relation to the mathematical patterns found in music. The artist describes these forms as “visual descriptions of musical chords.” Roughly human height, the sculptures will be sequenced, leading visitors through an unexpected series of encounters in the park.


Conrad Shawcross: The ADA Project at MOFO, Tasmania, 15 – 19 Janurary 2014

For more information and tickets click here
For Mira Calix’s commission for The ADA Project we gratefully acknowledge financial support from PRS for Music Foundation.


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