Three sculptures — Formation II (The Dappled Light of the Sun), 2015, Manifold 5:4, 2016, and Paradigm B (Solid), 2019 — by Conrad Shawcross are installed in the private gardens of Wilton Crescent, SW1, and are viewable from the street.
Formation II (The Dappled Light of the Sun) is an immersive work consisting of a cloud-like form made from thousands of tetrahedrons of various sizes held aloft by three sets of steel tripods. Constructed from weathering steel, the work stands at over six metres high and weighs five tonnes. The work is permeable by sunlight and viewers are encouraged to pass underneath it, where the interplay between light and shadow on both the ground and surrounding architecture adds to the sense of movement contained within the welded forms. The work was first displayed during the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2015, when five Dappled Light sculptures were installed in the Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard. The Dappled Light of the Sun has subsequently been displayed at venues including Chatsworth House, Derbyshire (2015), and Frieze Sculpture, London (2015).
Paradigm B (Solid), 2019, is a recent work from Shawcross’ acclaimed Paradigm series. The 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).
Shawcross's Manifold sculptures take 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. Encapsulating the dynamic visual potential of harmonics, the resulting ‘drawing’ is sculpted in three dimensions.