Rising star of art world commissioned by the Crick to create stunning public sculpture

06 October 2014

Conrad Shawcross with a maquette of 'Paradigm'.

Image: Conrad Shawcross with a maquette of 'Paradigm'.

Paul Nurse, Director of the Francis Crick Institute, has announced today that the London artist Conrad Shawcross has been commissioned to create a stunning piece of public art for the institute.

Conrad, who was born in Camden, will be creating a majestic tower 14 metres in height. The external sculpture - called Paradigm - will be made of weathered steel and will provide a strong, visual statement for the Crick when it opens in late 2015.

The sculpture will be a feat of engineering. Starting from a base of under one metre wide, that seemingly punctures the pavement, each subsequent tetrahedron form will grow steadily in volume to the top tetrahedron that is a monumental five-metre wide width and height. It will be located at the entrance of the institute.

Paul Nurse said: "The Crick's success will depend on the way researchers collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines. New advances often occur when we are able to look at things from a different perspective. Conrad's stimulating design for Paradigm draws on both artistic and scientific inspiration. It's also an exceptional piece of engineering and will be a striking new piece of public art for London."

Conrad, who is the youngest living artist to be elected to the Royal Academy, said: "Paradigm is inspired by science and ideas of science and is also a metaphor for potential; the potential to grow, to take risks, to be bold and brave. All qualities which are necessary for scientific progress and qualities which I think the Crick's researchers will have in abundance. I chose weathered steel as the material for the sculpture because it is true to the industrial history of the area, will be fabricated locally and is designed to be robust and practical."

Conrad received the prestigious Jack Goldhill Award for Best Sculpture in the RA Summer Exhibition 2014 for his Study for Paradigm.

The funding for Paradigm has been provided by a grant from the Wellcome Trust. The Trust supports the creation of new artistic work that critically engages artists and audiences with biomedical science.

Clare Matterson, Head of Strategy at the Wellcome Trust, said: "After more than two decades of helping to bring the worlds of science and art into contact, we are convinced that extraordinary thinking and making can happen when they mingle. Conrad's work will provide a wonderful monument to the energy generated through collaboration and will, I am sure, quickly become recognised as one of London's most important public artworks."

  • The external sculpture - called Paradigm - will be made of weathered steel and will provide a strong, visual statement for the Crick when it opens in late 2015.
  • The funding for Paradigm has been provided by a grant from the Wellcome Trust. The Trust supports the creation of new artistic work that critically engages artists and audiences with biomedical science.