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TONY CRAGG. Sculpture: Body and Soul (Part 2)

Category: Exhibition 2. August 2022

Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool, England, in 1949 and now lives in Wuppertal and Berlin. He first worked as a technician in a rubber laboratory. From 1969 he studied design at Gloucester College of Art in Cheltenham and from 1973 at the Royal College of Art in London. At the beginning of his career he created photographs, assemblages and installations. In the 1970s he began to collect different types of waste and reuse them in the style of Arte Povera. In this way he gave a second life to objects rejected by society, giving them an artistic soul.
Tony Cragg received numerous honors: In 1988, for example, he was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize. He has also been a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London since 1994 and a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin since 2002. From 2009 to 2013, he was rector of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. In 2016, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
Tony Cragg is known for his unconventional approach to his materials, refining materials such as plastic, glass, wood and stone, revealing their intrinsic beauty. For Cragg, each material is like an instrument that can be used to convey content or emotion.
In recent decades, Cragg's interest in the natural sciences (geology, physics) and his passion for nature have opened his art to new forms and pushed the boundaries of aesthetic language.
In "Body and Soul" we see a constant discourse with the material, soft, flowing forms, some of which are reminiscent of geological layers of sediment.

All these works invite the viewer to walk around them and look at them from different angles, interlocking forms offer different perspectives and associations, and to delve into the depth of the work, in a ritual of contemplation that at the same time conveys solidity. In his recent work, the artist has been particularly interested in organic forms where the inside and the outside constitute a unity, allowing the viewer's eye to penetrate the surfaces.

In his sculptural inquiries about forms in space, Cragg strives to make surfaces appear alive so that they release their own energy.
His references on this journey from classical sculpture to object art were the minimalist artists, arte povera, and Richard Long, because he felt that these and others helped to develop new languages of form, but when you look at his work, he reminds you of virtually no one: The basis of his creativity is the tension of materials and their possibilities to generate emotions, and to poeticize the physical presence of the object in space.

The works, some of which are large-scale and weigh several tons, nevertheless seem mobile, as if they could be changed in an instant; there is something abstract about them, and they disguise as much as they reveal.

Cragg practices an absolute formal freedom that also conveys a constant struggle against formal - and also physical - limits.

The plasticity of the abstracted forms strives for naturalness and often surprises the sculptor himself during the creative process, which never becomes routine for him: "The most exciting thing about my work is when you have an idea of where you want to go and end up with a completely different result that you could not have foreseen."

The exhibition at the Albertina will be on view until November 6, 2022.

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