The Sculptor Conrad Shawcross has won the commission to create an original replacement for the Barbara Hepworth bronze stolen from Dulwich Park in 2011. The Hepworth sculpture Two Forms (Divided Circle) was taken from its plinth in December 2011 by a suspected gang of scrap metal thieves who had broken into the park.
Following the theft a steering group made up of Southwark Council representatives and members of Dulwich community groups and organisations was set up to oversee the commission of a new artwork for the park. The steering group has been working alongside the Contemporary Art Society, who were appointed to manage the artist commissioning process. Ryan Gander, Anya Gallaccio, Conrad Shawcross and Eva Rothschild were shortlisted for the proposed commission.
Shawcross describes his forms as “visual descriptions of musical chords.” Roughly human height, the sculptures will be sequenced, leading visitors through an unexpected series of encounters in the park.
Born 1977, London Imbued with an appearance of scientific rationality, Conrad Shawcross’s sculptures explore subjects that lie on the borders of geometry and philosophy, physics and metaphysics. Attracted by failed quests for knowledge in the past, he often appropriates redundant theories and methodologies to create ambitious structural and mechanical montages, using a wide variety of materials and media, and working on an epic scale. Different technologies – nautical and audio-visual – and different natural forces inspire his forms, but his mysterious machines and structures remain enigmatic, filled with paradox and wonder. Some have an absurdist melancholy feel, while others tend to the sublime. Last summer Shawcross created a well received kinetic light sculpture for the Roundhouse in Camden.
Conrad Shawcross said: “I am delighted to have been commissioned to create this piece for Dulwich Park and it is an honour to have been selected given the legacy of Barbara Hepworth. The sculptural sequence I have proposed will provide a new route of navigation through what is already a beautiful park, providing opportunities for play, reflection and leisure.”
Shawcross has had solo presentations at 590 Madison Avenue, Pace Gallery, New York, (2010), Cabinet, Brooklyn (2009); Location One, New York, New York, (2009) JenaerKunstverein, Germany (2008), The New Art Gallery, Walsall and The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2005). His work has also been exhibited internationally at institutions including Musée d’art Contemporain, Lyon (2008), La Chapelle de L’Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (2008), The Saatchi Gallery (2004) and Manifesta 5, San Sebastian, Spain (2004). Shawcross’s first public realm commission; Space Trumpet installed in the atrium of the refurbished Unilever Building, London in 2007 won the Art & Work 2008 Award for a Work of Art Commissioned for a Specific Site in a Working Environment, and in 2009 he was awarded the Illy prize for best solo presentation at Art Brussels.