Formation III: The Dappled Light of the Sun by Conrad Shawcross
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Adjacent to Jameel Arts Centre, Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park is the Emirates’ first open-air art and sculpture park. One of the curious public art pieces that can be found in the park is of particular interest. It is Formation III: The Dappled Light of the Sun, a large-scale steel artwork created by British artist Conrad Shawcross who is famous for his abstract mechanical sculptures.

Experimenting with geometry and topology, the artist’s constructions are considered systems which in theory could be extended infinitely into space. Formation III: The Dappled Light of the Sun is based on the natural patterns of geometry. An immersive, 6m high sculpture standing on three tripods, it comprises branching forms made up of multiple tetrahedra (Shawcross often uses the tetrahedron in his work). These forms spread themselves and resemble tree branches, thus, the whole geometric structure seems like a tree: a living organism. Justifying its title, the sculpture is focused on sunlight’s multifaceted nature while it falls through the canopy of this metal interpretation of a tree.

Conrad Shawcross, Formation I (The Dappled Light of the Sun), 2015. Weathering steel.
792,1 x 792,1 x 475 cm.

About the artist

Conrad Shawcross (b. 1971, London, UK) is an internationally renowned sculptor residing in London. In 1996, he received his Foundation degree from Chelsea School of Arts (London) and in 1999, he obtained his BFA from Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University (Oxford, UK). The artist pursued his education at Slade School of Art, University College (London). In 2001, he graduated from the School with a MFA.

Shawcross employs various materials and mediums to create his geometric sculptures which remind one of scientific models and machines. In his art, the artist explores subjects that lie at the intersection of geometry, physics, science, philosophy, and nature. Drawing inspiration from various technologies, Shawcross’ art process is similar to industrial production. After sketching ideas, the artist collaborates with a team of engineers to make prototypes before producing works. In his art pieces, he often pays homage to trailblazing scientists and analysts as well as specific moments from the past.

Conrad Shawcross, Plosion 1 (Yellow), 2013. Aluminium, hand-rolled glass, oak. 180 x 208 x 128 cm.

Shawcross has displayed his art pieces in a plethora of exhibitions held at different galleries and institutions across the globe. His solo shows include The Measures of Change (Victoria Miro Gallery, Venice, Italy, 2021); Escalations (Château La Coste, Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France, 2020); Chord (The Jute Shed, Dean Clough Mills, Halifax, UK, 2019); and others. Among the group exhibitions which have featured Shawcross’ works are Sculpture in Pilane 2018 (Pilane Sculpture Park, Sweden, 2019); Harbour Arts Sculpture Park (Hong Kong, China, 2018); Herning Socle Du Monde Biennale 2017 (HEART, Denmark); Glasstress, the 55th Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy, 2013); and many others.

The artist has received a number of prizes and awards such as, for example, the Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture (2014); the ILLy Art Prize (2009); and the Art & Work 2008 Award for Space Trumpet, Unilever Commission (2008). In 2010, Shawcross was granted Urbanomic residency (Falmouth, UK). From 2009 to 2011, he was an Artist in Residence at Science Museum (London). Besides, he won an International Fellowship at Location One (New York, 2008-2009). It also should be mentioned that Shawcross is one of the members of the Royal Academy of Arts.

You might also be interested in visiting the Open-air Sculpture Museum in Jeddah.

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