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Shifting Paradigms: A Conversation with Conrad Shawcross
by Andrea Bellini

Addressing subjects on the border of science and philosophy, Conrad Shawcross’s structural and often mechanical sculptures question the empirical, ontological, and philosophical systems that define our lives. While at first appearing rational and functional, his complex systems ultimately deny all rational function and force the viewer down alternate philosophical and metaphysical avenues to deduce a raison d’être. From early works such as The Nervous System (2002), a monumental spinning machine that endlessly weaves a length of colored rope into the form of a double helix, to his recent giant spiral Continuum (2004), Shawcross has attempted to visualize, among other things, the most incomprehensible of human concerns, time.

Loop System Quintet, 2005. Waxed, machined oak, light bulbs, electric motor and gear box, drive shafts, cogs, universal joints, and mixed media, 17 x 17 x 3 meters. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery.

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