Opening on Saturday 29 February, Château La Coste presents an expansive exhibition of works by Conrad Shawcross. The exhibition (29 February–19 June 2020) explores his continued relationship with geometry and philosophy, physics and metaphysics. Grappling with complex theories the exhibition challenges the very building blocks of our reality and preconceptions.
In the Old Wine Storehouse Gallery, Conrad will be showcasing a series of large-scale works that form part of his Paradigm series and continue his ongoing experiments and investigations into the tetrahedron and its geometric and philosophical potential. Alongside these, a new set of Fractures are being exhibited, realised for the first time at a scale of 4 metres. Distinct in their own right, the Fractures abide by the same geometric parameters and constraints as the Paradigms, but are far more ephemeral, seeming to disappear as they rise up and explode.
In counterpoint to these vertical works, Conrad has installed two new mechanical pieces in the exhibition. Nestled in the ceiling of the Old Wine Storehouse gallery sits Slow Fold Inside a Corner (2020). This 3-metre wide kinetic sculpture is comprised of a series of mirrored panels that slowly fold in on themselves, creating a changing and de-stabilising view of the space and the other works contained within it. The Patterns of Absence (2020) continues Conrad’s investigations into interference patterns and their effects on our perception. The suspended work is 4m across and comprised of two slowly counter-rotating discs, both perforated using a complex mathematical algorithm. The sum effect allows shifting dappled light to permeate through the voids within their surfaces.
A final mechanical work is showcased in the Bastide Gallery. Light Perpetual I (2004), is one of Conrad’s earliest mechanical works. Comprised of a handmade wooden articulated arm with a single light bulb at the end, the work rotates at a speed of 200rpm, tracing the path of a particular harmonic ratio. The intensity of this motion causes the loop of light to burn onto the retina, fleetingly revealing its geometry to the viewer. The drawn loop of light attempts to envision the notion of string theory and the concept that matter is made up of continuous loops of energy, rather than simply particles.
On the grounds of Château La Coste, Conrad is creating a new permanent and monumental commission due to be completed this spring. Schism (2020) consists of twenty tetrahedra arranged together to form a sphere. This near-perfect polygonal form, standing over 6 metres in height, comes close to forming an icosahedron, however, the geometry fails to reconcile itself and a deep chasm dominates the form, appearing to be ripping the ideal apart. Realised at this monumental scale, the viewer is able to physically enter the form through the deep cracks in its surface.
A public event marking the opening of the exhibition took place on Saturday 29 February.
Image: Installation view, Conrad Shawcross, Escalations