Conrad Shawcross

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Conrad Shawcross
Conrad Shawcross.JPG
Shawcross posing with his installation The Nervous System (Inverted) at the Mudam, Luxembourg
Born Conrad Hartley Peltham Shawcross
(1977-04-26) 26 April 1977 (age 38)
London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Alma mater Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford
Slade School of Fine Art, University College London
Spouse(s) Carolina Mazzolari (m. 2013)
Elected Royal Academy of Arts

Conrad Hartley Peltham Shawcross RA (born 26 April 1977)[1] is a British artist specializing in mechanical sculptures based on philosophical and scientific ideas. Shawcross is the youngest living member of the Royal Academy of Arts.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Born in London, Shawcross is the son of biographer William Shawcross and the novelist, mythographer and cultural historian Marina Warner.

Shawcross studied at Westminster School, the Chelsea School of Art, the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (University of Oxford), and the Slade School of Fine Art (University College London).


Shawcross was included in the 2001 exhibition of British art school graduates Bloomberg New Contemporaries. He designs and builds machines with the intention of exploring the laws of science, and demonstrating the abstract nature of scientific thought in a practical manifestation. Shawcross gets help from scientists to research and develop his machines.

Shawcross' work came to prominence at the 2004 New Blood exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery at London County Hall. He exhibited The Nervous System, a large, symmetrical, working loom producing over 20,000 metres of double-helix coloured rope every week.[4]

Recent installations in 2009-2010 include a horizontal rope machine in the Holborn Tunnel, and a vast 60 foot high vertical version, Nervous System (Inverted) in the Sculpture Gallery, 590 Madison Avenue, New York. A 14 metre long spiral cast in aluminium, FRACTION (9:8), was unveiled in the Sadler Building at the Oxford Science Park.[5]

Wooden sculpture by Shawcross in Basel, Switzerland

In December 2004, Shawcross' commission Continuum opened at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, an installation on time and maritime themes made specifically to match the history and architecture of the venue, the Queen's House.[6]) Works included the title work Continuum, a large torus of twelve loops, a conceptual model of the day that also echoed the radial geometry of the Inigo Jones floor; Pre-retroscope II and Pre-retroscope III, based on two sea voyages Shawcross undertook off Cornwall in self-constructed wooden kayaks; and The Winnowing Oar, a sculpture based on a motif in the Odyssey. Several exhibits are currently in the Turner Contemporary in Margate.[7]

In 2008, he was nominated and awarded the first prestigious International Fellowship award at Location One,[8] a non-profit art gallery in the SoHo arts district of New York City where his exhibition "Control" was on display from 20 May until 31 July 2009.[9]

Credits include his inclusion among The Observer's 2004 list of 80 most talented young people,[10] the First Base Acava Free Studio Award and the Ray Finnis Charitable Trust Award in 2001. He is represented by the Victoria Miro Gallery.

Personal life[edit]

Shawcross previously had a long-term relationship with theatre and opera director Sophie Hunter whom he met while studying at Oxford. The couple split in early 2010.[11][12]

In 2013, Shawcross married Italian fashion and textile designer Carolina Mazzolari. They have one son, Hartley Bruce Cy (b. May 2014).[13]


  1. ^ Mosley, Charles (1 December 2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage. p. 3680. ISBN 978-0971196629. 
  2. ^ "Conrad Shawcross RA Elect". Royal Academy of Arts. 
  3. ^ "Rising star of art world commissioned by the Crick to create stunning public sculpture". The Francis Crick Institute. 
  4. ^ The Nervous System, Saatchi Gallery
  5. ^ Conrad Shawcross sculpture at Oxford Science Park
  6. ^ "Conrad Shawcross: Continuum", Royal Museums Greenwich
  7. ^ "Greenwich ideal for time-sensitive sculpture" by Mary Horrock, Financial Times, 28 December 2004 (subscription required)
  8. ^ International Residency Program: Conrad Shawcross – International Fellow 2008–2009, Location One
  9. ^ Conrad Shawcross: Control, Location One
  10. ^ The bright stuff, Robert Colvile, The Observer, 27 June 2004
  11. ^ Sooke, Alistair (29 November 2005). "In the studio: Conrad Shawcross". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Williams-Akoto, Tessa (31 May 2006). "My Home: Conrad Shawcross". The Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Kellaway, Kate. "Conrad Shawcross’s Ada – the disco robot". The Guardian. 

External links[edit]