Conrad Shawcross is a British sculptor whose current practice sees him constructing large-scale, kinetic and mechanical objects inspired by science and philosophy. The artist’s works tend to have a geometric, mathematical quality about them, using sharp edges and finely tuned angles to express concepts from physics, mathematics, and architecture. Despite the cool, detached rationality of the works at first glance, each piece seems to reach for a metaphysical, ethereal ideal.
Shawcross’ studio space has an almost futuristic look to it -- the artworks and sculptural constructions visible in the foreground of this image have a very modern and mysterious appearance. Made from a range of different materials, they seem constructed in such a way as to appear useful, like alien machines, though what purpose they could serve remains obscure.
I like the way that the brick wall at the far end of the room balances this aesthetic. While the white walls and metallic ceiling girders feel very modern, this wall looks as though it was restored from a much older structure, so there’s an interesting mix of eras at play in this studio space. I can imagine drawing a great deal of inspiration from such an aesthetically varied studio space.
Many of the artist’s works draw inspiration directly from a particular scientific moment or breakthrough, like Slow Arc Inside a Cube, which draws on the aesthetics of Dorothy Hodgkin’s discovery and documentation of porcine insulin. Bicameral, a 2019 public sculpture, was conceived of over 600 small parts all connected using techniques from Japanese wood joinery, without any welding.