CONRAD SHAWCROSS, PARADIGM: A public art commission by Conrad Shawcross RA, The Crick Institute, 2016

Commissioned by the Francis Crick Institute, funded by the Wellcome Trust and curated by Artwise, Paradigm, by artist Conrad Shawcross, is one of the tallest public sculptures in central London. Conrad Shawcross' concept for Paradigm was chosen after a long and rigorous selection process from a considered shortlist of eminent international artists. 


Thomas Kuhn's theory of the 'paradigm shift' provided the starting point for Shawcross' work for the The Crick. Kuhn, an American philosopher of science, believed that scientific advancement does not progress in a seamless linear fashion, but rather through massive shifts that lead to breakthroughs, which change the course of thought, comprehension and application. Paradigm provides a metaphor for potential and reflects the ambitions of the biomedical research institute: to grow; to advance; to discover.


Recognised as one of the most innovative sculptors in the UK today, Shawcross' sculpture towers at an impressive 14 metres high and made up of 17 tessellated tetrahedra, the 27 tonne sculpture elegantly balances on the smallest tetrahedron of just 80cm across. Paradigm's majestic form defies gravity, embodies boldness and courage whilst its materiality (COR-TEN weathering steel) gives a respectful nod to the industrial heritage of King's Cross.


Project Details:


Artist: Conrad Shawcross RA

Commissioned by the Francis Crick Institute (visit project website here)

Funded by the Wellcome Trust

Fabricated by Benson-Sedgewick 

Engineered by Structure Workshop

Curated by Artwise