Protomodel

Protomodel

Conrad Shawcross

Read about the artwork

Hyperbolic Swarf Drawings (image Science Museum/Santiago Arribas-Pena)

Hyperbolic Swarf Drawings (image Science Museum/Santiago Arribas-Pena)

Chord Harmonic Trees (image Science Museum/Santiago Arribas-Pena)

Perimeter Studies (image Science Museum/Santiago Arribas-Pena)

The Celestial Metres (image Science Museum/Santiago Arribas-Pena)

Time Rule (352 Minutes) (image Science Museum/Santiago Arribas-Pena)

Conrad Shawcross - Protomodel

  • 12 May - 13 May 2012
  • Installation
  • Mathematics gallery, second floor

During his time as Artist in Residence, Conrad Shawcross has been peering into the depths of the Museum’s collection and minds of its expert curators to extend his own personal investigations into the construction of certainty and beliefs in science.

Paying homage to the influence the Mathematics gallery has had on his practice, Shawcross has created five artworks that will be displayed alongside the gallery’s distinctively stylised displays of mathematical instruments, machines and models. Protomodel opens up a playful, questioning dialogue exploring how model-making, natural processes, cultural practices and historical circumstances all play their part in mathematical thinking.

Shawcross’s works respond to the tactile, material imperfections of experimental mathematical models which seek to demonstrate concepts that cannot be seen or touched and attempt to represent the invisible. From a tangled, coiling length of swarf that describes the perplexing relation between the centre and periphery of a spinning drill, to a set of ‘celestial metres’ that might act as standard measures for the inhabitants of other planets, Shawcross’s works express a creative curiosity about the way in which mathematics is expressed in the real world.

As part of his residency Shawcross has also created a curatorial exhibition concept, which will be developed for the Science Museum Arts Projects future programme. Shawcross will select objects from the collection to be shown alongside his own and other contemporary artists’ work.

  • Shawcross's residency is supported by The Leverhulme Trust.

About the artist

British artist Conrad Shawcross (born 1977) combines his interests in art, science and philosophy to create epic-scale structural and mechanical sculptures using a wide variety of materials and media. While at first appearing rational and functional, Shawcross's often complex mechanised systems ultimately deny their own apparent usefulness.

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