Tony Cragg (GB), sculpture, objects, site-specific projects
------------Exhibition opening: 19.09, 6 p.m. ------------and on view until 9.11
------------Curator: Milada Slizinska
different metals, 5 parts
height 560 cm
Tony Cragg is one of the most important representatives of British artists born in the early 50s. This generation has initiated a Renaissance in sculpture based on objects. Similarly to Richard Deacon and Bill Woodrow, Tony Cragg began his studies in art school in the late 60s and early 70s, in the period when minimalism, conceptualism and arte povera were reigning as the most popular movements. New materials, until now not used in art, came into use. The public became interested in Richard Long's stone objects, brick works by Carl Andre, Mario Merz's needles, Bruce Neuman or Gilbert and George.
Cragg's first works produced in his RCA studio consisted of a stool and little wood pieces while the contents of his first exhibtions were pieces of plastic combined to reproduce the colour spectrum in the form a crescent shape. They appeared to be an attempt to adapt elements of the outer world for art's sake. The artist quickly realised that the method of heroic gestures for their own sake or to demonstrate geometric processes is futile as it renders the work meaningless.
Beasts of Burden, 1991
stone, 3 parts
60 x 110 x 60 cm
Administered Landscape, 1991
Bronze, 100 x 100 x 70 cm
Tony Cragg differentiates between the art created in a defined conceptual frame (Brancussi, Giacometti, Warhol or Koons) and this created by an artist approaching the world by instinct (which can be seen in Degas, Bernardo Rosso or Beuys's art). After having moved to the Rhineland in 1977, Cragg became aware of a European cultural heritage and not only strove to be shown on the continent but first of all to refer to economic development, climate and intellectual genealogy.
Many of the people who Cragg admits to be influenced by are scientists and philosophers like Isaac Newton and Alain Prochiantz. Being inspired by their works in the 80s he exhibits small wooden forms resembling Norwegian fjord area houses, steel constructions of the Albert Dock in his home-town, Liverpool and creates gigantic versions of laboratory equipment.
Tony Cragg's exhibition in the Centre for Contemporary Art is an overview of his work, beginning with his early 1981-3 pieces to the most recent works. They have been produced from various materials such as steel, aluminium, wood, plastic, bronze, glass, stone and wax. The artist's use of such diverse materials and ready-mades is an evidence of his search for a new metaphor in sculpture.
Bromide Figures, 1992
glass 133 x 172 x 135 cm
Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool in 1949; since 1977 has been living in Wuppertalu. In the autumn of '96 he worked in the Henry Moore Studio in Halifax, making a series of new sculptures and around 150 drawings. Tony Cragg studied at Gloucester College of Art and Design in Cheltenham (1968-69), Wimbledon School of Art (1969-72) and Royal College of Art (1972-77). Since 1978 he has worked as a professor at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf where in 1988 he was nominated professor. In 1988 he received the Turner Prize. Since 1994 he was made a member of the Royal Academy.
The first solo exhibition of Tony Cragg took place in 1977; he participated twice in Documenta in Kassel (in 1982 and 1987); in 1988 he represented Great Britain for the first time in the Venice Biannial and again this year. In recent years his work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Henry Moore Foundation, Halifax and the Whitechapel Gallery in London. Currently he is exhibiting in the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul and Museum d'Art Contemporain in Barcelona.
Tony Cragg exhibited in Poland in 1988 in Foksal Gallery.