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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 11 June 2024

New Artwork By Artist & Sculptor Conrad Shawcross Unveiled As Cover Art For Glyndebourne Festival Programme Book

First introduced in 1952, the programme book has established itself as a highly collectible item featuring beautifully illustrated, expert articles that celebrate and explore the operas on stage at Glyndebourne each summer. 

Credit Daniel Alka

One of the special features of the publication is its cover art, which over the years has been designed by some of the biggest names in British stage design and contemporary art.

This year's cover art is titled Harmonic Carving (Glyndebourne) and  celebrates Glyndebourne's 90th anniversary

The work is part of the series Harmonic Carvings (2024) which has been made specifically for Glyndebourne by Conrad Shawcross.

The drawing, and all the other works in the series, was produced using a harmonograph; a now defunct, Victorian-era machine that traditionally uses swinging pendulums to draw visualisations of movement. 

Shawcross has adapted a harmonograph with two pendulums – one attached to a pen, the other to paper – and feeds the device with a musical chord, making the pendulums move in tandem and apply scratch marks on the paper. 

The result is a vivid, energetic amalgamation of colour and sound incorporating the imagery of black holes. 

Harmonic Carving (Glyndebourne) and the full Harmonic Carvings series will be exhibited in the Archive Gallery at Glyndebourne throughout its 2024 Festival. 

It is one of three bodies of work on display as part of a solo exhibition by the artist titled Expansion Fields.

Shawcross says of the exhibition: 

"This show contains three bodies of work, two of which present the full spectrum of my series. 

"Within the garden, the full spectrum of Paradigms is presented as nine ascending works. 

"This is the first time they will be shown together and at this scale.

"Similarly, the Old Green Room contains the full, realised spectrum of Manifolds. 

"This series of 13 specific chords within the western scale are visual depictions of these chords descending into silence forming a counterpoint to the ascendant Paradigms. 

"They have been counterbalanced with chromatic sconces; each colour is a transmogrification of the ratio into a RAL code, presenting the synaesthetic potential of music.

"Finally, the series of works on paper loosely represents the six operas, using different ratios on the pendulum driven drawing machine (harmonograph) to scribe patterns and forms into the tonal layers of paint."

Conrad Shawcross: Expansion Fields unfolds in three parts. The works displayed in the Archive Gallery and the gardens are accessible to all Festival 2024 ticket-holders. The exhibits in the Old Green Room are available to view by appointment. 

Glyndebourne Festival runs until 25th August 2024.

by: Mike Cobley




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