Time: a familiar framework for all our lives, but a fundamentally peculiar concept. Timepiece is a major new installation that encourages us to take a fresh look at something we all take for granted.
Suspended above the Roundhouse’s epic Main Space will be a vast 8-metre faceless clock, a spectacular light sculpture that will flood the space with intricate layers of light and shadow. Responding to the building’s circular shape and 24 towering support pillars, the building itself will become the Timepiece, allowing us all to see time in a different way.
I wanted to try to make the familiar the peculiar again; to turn time and the clock back into the celestial, primeval experience that it once was for us all – Conrad Shawcross
Timepiece is a specially commissioned, large-scale light installation by leading British artist Conrad Shawcross, created in response to the Roundhouse’s iconic Main Space that will be on show for the month of August 2013, as part of Bloomberg’s Summer at the Roundhouse.
“Conrad Shawcross is widely acknowledged as one of the leading artists of his generation. His sculptures explore physics and metaphysics, biology, geometry, philosophy and cosmology. The combination of a highly intelligent and enquiring mind with respect for skill and craftsmanship sets him apart from most of his generation.” ~Evening Standard
This major new commission uses the unique architecture of the Roundhouse as its source of inspiration, and continues Shawcross’s long-term investigation into the perception and measurement of time. Shawcross has created a vast new suspended mechanical work that will fill the space with light and shadow, using the 24 columns of the Main Space to mark the hours of our day. Timepiece will allow visitors to orient themselves within real time while providing a visually spectacular experience of the space.
The installation seeks to turn the ubiquitous familiar clock back into the primeval celestial experience it once was. The unusually silent Roundhouse will become a place for reflection and contemplation. Midday and midnight will be a moment of alignment when all three articulated arms will point straight up, creating a fleeting singular shadow amid the dynamic triple shadows that will evolve throughout the rest of the day’s cycle.
The installation will be open during the day for visitors to interact with the work and its interplay of shadows and light, with late evening opening on selected days throughout the month. The Roundhouse will curate events throughout the month with artists who will respond to the installation, working in collaboration across art forms including music, film and dance. Collaborators include London Contemporary Orchestra, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Siobhan Davies and contortionist Iona Kewney.
Conrad Shawcross is widely acknowledged as one of the leading artists of his generation. Shawcross, along with Chris Ofili, and Mark Wallinger, was invited to create works inspired by Titian’s masterpieces for the project Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, an ambitious collaboration with the National Gallery and Royal Ballet for the Cultural Olympiad.
Imbued with an appearance of scientific rationality, Conrad Shawcross’s sculptures and installations explore subjects that lie on the borders of geometry and philosophy, physics and metaphysics. Significant solo exhibitions have taken place at Musée d’art moderne duGrand-Duc Jean (MUDAM), Luxembourg (2012), the Science Museum, London (2011-2012) and Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011). His first public commission, Space Trumpet, for the Unilever Building, London won an Art and Work Award in 2008.
Marcus Davey, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Roundhouse, says: “It’s a real thrill to be working with one of the most exciting and inspirational artists of a generation. It’s always the work that responds to our unique space that really creates an unforgettable experience – I truly believe this is one of those moments. I can’t wait to see this incredible piece transform the Roundhouse.”
Conrad Shawcross says: “The realization of the central space being circumscribed by 24 columns was a key moment in the development of the idea and really drove the conceptual direction. Once I realized there were 24 columns I started to look into the history of timekeeping, the origin of the hour and hence the Mayans, the Egyptians, and the Greeks. While the day and the year are absolute cosmological phenomena, the hour is arbitrary in length and the reason there are 24 hours in a day is not really known for sure, with many theories abounding. All the incredible elements of the space – its circularity, its scale, its ability to control the light levels – gave me such a beautiful set of parameters within which to create this work”.
Conrad Shawcross – Timepiece 1 – 25 August Roundhouse Camden London