Conrad Shawcross

Conrad Shawcross (born 1977, London) is a British artist, the son of the writers William Shawcross and Marina Warner. He specialises in wooden mechanical sculptures based on philosophical and scientific ideas.

Shawcross received his education at Westminster School, the Chelsea School of Art, The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (University of Oxford), and the Slade School of Art, University College London.

He was then included in 2001’s New Contemporaries, a touring exhibition in the UK featuring each year a selection of new artists.

He designs and builds machines with the intention of exploring the laws of science, and demonstrating the abstract nature of scientific thought in a practical manifestation. Shawcross gets help from scientists to research and develop his machines.

Shawcross’ work came to prominence at the 2004 New Blood exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery at County Hall, London. He exhibited The Nervous System, a large Heath Robinson-type wooden contraption, a working loom producing over 20,000 metres of double-helix coloured rope every week.[1]

In December 2004, Shawcross’ commission Continuum opened at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, an installation on time and maritime themes made specifically to match the history and architecture of the venue (the Queen’s House, England’s first fully Classical building [2]). Works included the title work Continuum, a large torus of twelve loops, a conceptual model of the day that also echoed the radial geometry of the Inigo Jones floor; Pre-retroscope II and Pre-retroscope III, based on two sea voyages Shawcross undertook off Cornwall in self-constructed wooden kayaks; and The Winnowing Oar, a sculpture based on a motif in the Odyssey.[3][4]

Credits include his inclusion among The Observer’s 2004 list of 80 most talented young people,[5] the First Base Acava Free Studio Award and the Ray Finnis Charitable Trust Award in 2001. He is represented by the Victoria Miro Gallery.


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