Tony Cragg. Recent Works

24 Sep 2015 – 7 Nov 2015


Munich, Germany


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Sculptor Tony Cragg works from the conviction that everything we have in our minds – our values, ideas, concepts and language – is a direct result of our material surroundings, and that sculpture plays a radical part within the production of an extended formal vocabulary.


Tony Cragg’s first sculptures were made at the start of the 1970s. They were created from a broad range of substances, none of which belonged in the canon of traditional art materials and objects. These found objects were treated, sorted, pulverized and stacked using simple work processes, the artist’s body often being involved as a processing element, as an agent. Cragg had studied in London and initially he was interested in the Minimal and Concept Art of the period. The oppositional attitude he developed from this debate led him to produce basic geometric forms, which he constructed in materials that do not actually allow an exact geometric form. Their spectrum was extended according to the principle that all materials are interesting for a sculptor, and that nothing is insignificant. Facing this inexhaustible store, it became clear to Cragg that – in analogy to nature – the forms of industrially manufactured objects are also founded on basic forms or geometries. In nature, however, such basic forms – which can be equated with abstractions – are considerably more versatile and complex than in industrial production systems, which are oriented on economic factors as a rule, and therefore produce simple forms. Tony Cragg understands sculpture as the revitalization of forms that – free of utilitarian constraints – are developed from materials in a permanent process of experimentation with and development of form and content. He has described himself repeatedly as a »radical materialist«. This implies that ultimately, all perceptible experiences are characteristics of a superior material reality, inclusive of all emotions, intelligence and the spirit, which are understood as material phenomena. Aesthetics are an existential system of evaluation, variable according to the circumstances of life, and they lead to evaluations such as beautiful and ugly, right and wrong, good or evil. Form and content, therefore, can never be regarded as separate aspects. Cragg sees form as always being the outcome of inner energies and forces. In the two extensive work groups, »Early Forms« and »Rational Beings«, he investigates – in differing ways – the relations between natural and artificial form, between external appearance and inner structures, and between visible and no longer perceptible material reality. Thus, for example, a work such as “Wild Relatives” – one of those »rational beings« whose human profile dissolves into an overlapping of innumerable, slightly realigned layers – makes us aware of the permanently transformable nature of organic forms, here translated into rigid material.

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Exhibiting artists

Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg


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