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2014 Conrad Shawcross on the Study for Paradigm

Conrad Shawcross first exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2014, very shortly after he had been made the youngest living Academician in May of that year. The work that he displayed, Paradigm, was a study for a large public commission (also Paradigm), now situated outside the Francis Crick Institute in the King’s Cross area of London.

The Exhibition was a springboard for developing a commission already underway, and this film explores the relationship between the indoor display of a study for Paradigm and its final incarnation as a prominent piece of public sculpture. Reflecting on the experience, Shawcross describes the sensation of “losing control” that every artist in the Summer Exhibition has to negotiate, as the decision about where to place a work is entirely in the hands of the Hanging Committee. This was a new and somewhat alien experience for an artist who often works on public commissions, where the positioning of the work is an intrinsic part of the artistic process.

Figure 1

Jonathan Law, Conrad Shawcross on Study for “Paradigm”, 2018, film, 6 minutes 31 seconds. Courtesy of Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (Creative Commons CC BY-NC International 4.0).

Explore the 2014 catalogue

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Explore the 2014 catalogue