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Conrad Shawcross 22 June 2019 to 21 July 2019
Conrad Shawcross 22 June 2019 to 21 July 2019


22 June - 21 July 2019

This exhibition brings together works by artist Conrad Shawcross and celebrates the accompanying installation Chord, which can be seen on display at the Jute Shed, Halifax’s new art space at Dean Clough Mills.

Born in London in 1977, Shawcross explores subjects that lie on the borders of physics and metaphysics, geometry and philosophy. Attracted by failed quests for knowledge in the past, he often appropriates redundant theories and methodologies to create ambitious structural and mechanical works, using a wide variety of materials and media, often working on an epic scale.

Originally commissioned by Measure Arts in 2009 to be displayed in a disused tram tunnel in London, Chord has been reshown especially as the first art exhibition the Jute Shed. Reflecting the history of Halifax as a renowned centre for the production and trading of textiles, the spectacular installation consists of two large identical machines each holding 162 spools of coloured chord. Shawcross invites us to consider the human perception of time, as both a linear and cyclical notion. Over the course of its display, the machines slowly retreat from each other to weave a thick, brightly coloured rope. Each point on the rope can be traced back to the moment it was created, with the final length dependent on the duration of the exhibition.

This accompanying exhibition presents related sculpture and drawings. The mainly historical works continue to explore the artists interest in the everyday perception of space, scale and time, and are perfectly placed at The Piece Hall with its rich history and regional significance. The series Time Rule (2009-11) features unique lengths of rope woven by Chord, making each one a perfect metaphor for time. This simple gesture of swapping time for space attempts to emphasise the precarious nature of everyday systems upon which we rely, and the limits of our language and perception to understand the true nature and order of time.

Celestial Meters (2009) share the artists ongoing investigation in the history of science and the way it impacts on our lives and reality. The series of stainless steel rods are inspired by the history of the metre and its origin. In 1799 during the French Revolution, the metre was created as a way to modernise the Imperial system of measurement, and was defined one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the equator. The artist applies this same calculation to each planet in the solar system, relative to their own dimensions, to highlight the fragility of the everyday, and challenge our ideas of reality.

This exhibition and Chord at the Jute Shed, Dean Clough Mills has been co-curated by Sam Clayton, and coincide with the Yorkshire Sculpture International (YSI) – a free, 100-day festival of sculpture taking place across Yorkshire.



Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 4pm

Supported by
The Piece Hall heritage regeneration project is also supported by Garfield Weston Foundation and The Wolfson Foundation.
The Piece Hall is independently managed by The Piece Hall Trust, a registered charity, number 1156948. Registered in England and Wales, number 08906735.
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