By Ben Luke
Encountering an artist at the moment where their work is alone for the first time in a gallery is special.
It seems particularly exciting for Conrad Shawcross, whose art emerges into the world from a busy studio through more complex mathematical and technological calculations than many artists, from sketchbooks and computer simulations through material tests to maquettes and prototypes. When we meet in the Victoria Miro gallery in Mayfair, where he’s unveiling his exhibition After the Explosion, Before the Collapse later this week, there’s a sense that these sculptures are still on a journey.
He’s still giving the works titles, for instance. A kinetic mirrored work high in a corner, which flattens into a shield before closing up like a carnivorous plant, is called Folding Shield in the press release but he’s started to call it Corner Schism. A circular work in the gallery window facing Maddox Street was originally called Optoscope.
Shawcross points out the mesmerising patterns created by its two perforated circles, one moving clockwise, the other anticlockwise: “you get these swirls that are almost like starlings in formation”. He decides to call it Murmuration after those miraculous sunset flocks of birds.
Image: Portrait of Conrad Shawcross by Matt Writtle