Protomodel by Conrad Shawcross
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 are 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.