Science and art prove a potent combination in the hands of Conrad Shawcross. By Tom Seymour
What do you know about a tetrahedron? For rarely has a shape responded so strangely to growth, and never has it assumed quite so much importance. The Greek philosopher Plato, writing 2,400 years ago, identified the tetrahedron – a pyramid with four triangular sides, made up of identical angles – as the essential building block on which the entire world is composed.
It’s a shape, we now evidentially know, that lies at the basis of nature, most obviously in the molecule H2O, which makes up two thirds of the world’s surface, while DNA, the very matter of our unique being, comprises of molecular variants of what Buckminster Fuller called the tetrahelix.
When one multiplies a tetrahedron then such a basic form blooms into something contradictory and abstract. Unlike other basic shapes, a tetrahedra cannot tesselate with itself. It cannot, therefore, ever fill a space. Linked together, the shape instead twists and turns in ways that seemed to defy logic, like the blooming of a great plant.
Image: Installation view, Conrad Shawcross: After the Explosion, Before the Collapse
13 September - 27 October 2018
Victoria Miro Mayfair, 14 St George Street, London W1S 1FE
© Conrad Shawcross
Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice