Tem­pest in a Tea Room

Bri­tish sculp­tor Con­rad Shawcross is about to shake up High Tea at The Penin­sula. He talks to Chloe Street about his re­mark­able robotic cre­ation

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life -

ou meet strange men with vans in ser­vice sta­tion car parks, ex­change a wad of cash for the goods and they drive off… It’s all very Blade Run­ner,” ex­plains Con­rad Shawcross not of any crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, but the some­what in­salu­bri­ous mar­ket for se­cond-hand ro­bots. The Bri­tish sculp­tor, a grad­u­ate of Lon­don’s pres­ti­gious Slade School of Fine Art and Ox­ford’s Ruskin School of Art, and the son of cel­e­brated writ­ers Ma­rina Warner and Wil­liam Shawcross, is not the sort one pic­tures cut­ting deals with the driv­ers of white vans on the M25. But The Ada Pro­ject, his in­stal­la­tion at The Penin­sula Hong Kong this month, re­quired some niche hard­ware.

Shawcross’s large ki­netic ro­bot sculp­ture is part of the Love Art at The Penin­sula pro­gramme, an an­nual col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Royal Academy of Arts to co­in­cide with Art Basel in Hong Kong. Last year, Royal Aca­demi­cian Richard Wil­son’s Hang On a Minute Lads… I’ve got a Great Idea, a full-scale replica of the coach from the 1969 heist film The Ital­ian Job, pre­car­i­ously bal­anced on the para­pet of the ho­tel’s sev­enth-floor ter­race. In 2014, a mov­ing an­i­ma­tion of Tracey Emin’s My Heart is with You Al­ways was pro­jected onto the ho­tel’s high-rise tower.

“I vis­ited the ho­tel foyer and asked my­self what would be ar­rest­ing here,” says Shawcross, the youngest mem­ber of the Royal Academy, whose vast geo­met­ric sculp­ture The Dap­pled Light of the Sun formed a canopy of

Con­rad Shawcross with his ki­netic sculp­ture The Ada Pro­ject, which takes up res­i­dence at The Penin­sula this month

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