New York

Conrad Shawcross

Location One

Conrad Shawcross’s Slow Arc III, 2009, is a small light in a cage in a darkened room—already fertile ground for metaphor—mounted on a mechanism that moves up and down, side to side, and forward and back. The light travels slowly from point to point along the three axes that these movements describe, and in so doing casts shadows of the wire mesh onto the walls; these moving shadows make the walls appear to recede and stop and come closer and reverse, a vertiginous and not entirely benignant effect, especially when accompanied by the relentless grinding sound of the mechanism.

Slow Arc III is the latest iteration of an ongoing exploration by the artist, inspired by a quotation from the British chemist Dorothy Hodgkin, who described making a model of pig insulin as “like trying to work out the structure of a tree from seeing only its shadow.” Working backward from this and from descriptions

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