Tony Cragg notes: “Sculpture is a method to approach our universe, to look for new forms and to formulate new questions about the world in which we live, about reality. My experience of sculpture shows that it is an incredibly dynamic and mobile thing. There is something very immediate in reading the material.” An exhibition at Mudam Luxembourg testifies to the diversity of Cragg’s oeuvre, showing a selection of work from over the past two decades in a celebration of the internationally renowned practitioner.
A questioning of shape and material is at the forefront of his practice, combining classical techniques with an innovative and pioneering methodology. Furthermore, the idea that physical materials are the bearers of meaning and emotions forms a central strand of his creative approach. This concept is the foundation to the belief that sculpture is a medium oriented toward the future, a discipline that has not been used to its full potential. Cragg works with the vision that art is situated in a liminal space between the organic and the industrial, a relationship that creates a space free from utilitarian needs in order to explicitly explore the socio-political issues of our time. It is this complex philosophy that grounds Cragg’s practice, a unique ethos that makes him one of the most important practitioners of our time.
Not only do the featured compositions demonstrate the diversity of work, they are also all related to each other within the artist’s wider oeuvre. For example, Dining Motions (1982) and Forminifera (1994) highlight early interests in the relationship between form, image and material, as well as the recurrent questioning of mass and surface. In Early Forms, a collection including Stroke (2014) and Migrant (2015), Cragg twisted and stretched laboratory glassware and industrial equipment, however, the fragility of glass was first explored in Fields of Heaven (1998). An interest in organic forms permeates this varied collection with the series Rational Beings, alongside additional pieces such as I’m Alive (2003), Making Sense (2007) and Lost in Thoughts (2012). The exhibition is not a retrospective, it bears witness to the complex interrelated nature of Cragg’s extensive oeuvre.
Tony Cragg, Mudam Luxembourg, until 3 September. www.mudam.lu
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1. Tony Cragg, I’m Alive (2003).