Conrad Shawcross explores the “riddle and mystery” of objects in new light work for the Barbican. By Rebecca Fulleylove
Artist Conrad Shawcross’ sculptural works often blur the lines between geometry and philosophy, physics and metaphysics, and he uses science and rationale to create mind-bending objects that look other-worldly. “I studied maths and physics at school and I was at university studying art, but I was always surrounded by other subjects. I spent a lot of my youth in the Science Museum, every month I’d go there and look at the maths department,” Conrad says of where his approach stems from. “I just really love objects that seem to be rational but then they contain a lot of irrationality. They have a cloak of the rational mind which has conceived and constructed them, but beyond that they are misguided.”
Conrad’s past artworks include The Dappled Light of the Sun from 2015 which was a large-scale immersive work consisting of five steel, cloud-like forms, a permanent public art piece for the Francis Crick Institute last year called Paradigm and an ongoing series called The Ada Project, which takes the form of musical commissions between Conrad and contemporary composers, where each piece of music has been developed using a bespoke, choreographic light robot, developed by Conrad and his team in his London studio.
This robotic technology has informed Conrad’s new artwork for the Barbican’s summer spectacular, Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction, which is an exploration of one of popular culture’s most celebrated realms. Conrad’s installation, titled In Light of the Machine takes over the Barbican’s Pit, which is usually a theatre space.
Image: Conrad Shawcross, In Light of The Machine, 2017
Commissioned by Barbican International Enterprises
Photo: Tristan Fewings / Getty Images