Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects

Caldera, 2008. Photo Michael Richter Image 1 of 7
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A Rare Category of Objects (installation view). Photo Michael Richter Image 2 of 7
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Caught Dreaming, 2006. Photo Michael Richter Image 3 of 7
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Outspan, 2008. Photo Michael Richter Image 4 of 7
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Points of View, 2013. Photo Michael Richter Image 5 of 7
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Sail, 2016. Photo Michael Richter Image 6 of 7
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Willow, 2014. Photo Michael Richter Image 7 of 7
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04.03.17 - 03.09.17
Underground Gallery, Garden Gallery and open air
The biggest UK exhibition to date by leading sculptor Tony Cragg. New sculptures, drawings and works drawn from nearly five decades of Cragg’s practice will survey and demonstrate the artist’s pioneering and continued mastery of materials in the Underground Gallery and open air.

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A ‘radical materialist’, Cragg defines sculpture as a ‘rare category of objects’, and takes a taxonomic approach to his own practice, something which is reflected in the exhibition. The wit and will to analyse the properties of all of the planet’s resources and use them to make new things is unique to human beings, along with the intuition to sort, order and categorise the things that exist and that we bring into existence.

Cragg’s extraordinary career has its roots in a fascination for, and exploration of, the possibilities of the material world, which he considers to be ‘the huge storeroom [in which] lie the keys to essential processes and explanations of our existence’. Cragg’s artistic practice developed from drawings he made to document experiments whilst working as a lab technician at the National Rubber Producers Research Association (1966–68). He went on to study at London’s Wimbledon School of Art and the Royal College of Art and during two summer vacations worked nightshifts in a foundry that manufactured components for engines. The combination of art and the experience of the physical transformation of materials through industrial processes is the cornerstone of Cragg’s practice.

From the small scale to the monumental, Cragg’s prolific practice is the outcome of a constantly questioning and experimental symbiotic process of thought and manual making, which always starts with drawing. With the support of his studio, Cragg makes his sculptures by hand, each evolution of thought taking form and inspiring the next. His intuition to sort and categorise, evident in his childhood fossil collection, is expressed in the significant early stacked series in which the accumulated content of his studio, including stones, wood, and books, are formed into geological-like sculptures. This important strand of his practice is shared through the extraordinary sculpture Minster, which will greet visitors in the first space of the Underground Gallery.

A new important aspect of Cragg’s work evolved in 1977 when he began to collect plastic objects washed up along the river Rhine, after moving to Wuppertal, Germany, where he continues to live, work and teach at the nearby Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf. This, and other seminal moments, are revealed in the first room of the Underground Gallery. Recent and new sculpture in the huge central gallery and open air reflect the evolution of Cragg’s important career and demonstrate that he is an artist in full command of his chosen discipline.

An academic session produced in collaboration with Dr Jon Wood, Research Curator at the Henry Moore Institute, will coincide with the exhibition. A limited edition and exclusive exhibition merchandise will be available to purchase along with a full colour publication sharing unique insights into Cragg’s career from both an art historical and material science perspective. 



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This is very exciting news and long overdue
Rodney McMahon on Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects | See all (6) comments
Brilliant sculptor! Can't wait Sarah Newman on Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects
Best for a long time, exhibition was fantastic, layout thoughtful. I attended the opening – a wonderful few hours and worth coming through the rain. Will have to have another visit to get my fix. Wendy Rose on Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects
Amazing work... the pieces in the landscape are powerful and fascinating, but the sculpture in the Underground Gallery is incredible. Such imagination and precision... and such a wide range of concept and materials. Stephen Ripley on Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects
I can't wait to see Tony's work – we were at Wimbledon School of Art together. Malcolm Rafferty on Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects
Popped along to the park today, no forward planning, and was greeted by faces, faces and more faces... Intentional warped space forming profiles from many angles or Pareidolia I the extreme. Bravo Mr Cragg. Neil Auty on Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects

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