TONY CRAGG – ABSTRACT SCULPTOR

10 02 2012

One cannot not notice once in a while a giant  among us. A giant, that is the same height, same stature like everyone of us – only his  mind and his prolific resume make him a giant. Meet Tony Gragg. An unbelievably prolific sculptor – in a class of his own.

Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool, England in 1949. Internationally recognized as one of the leading abstract sculptors of his generation, Cragg has produced a highly influential body of work centered on the manipulation of shapes and surfaces as they relate to the human environment. Using such diverse materials as bronze, glass, and found objects, Cragg has created enigmatic works that meld bio-morphic shapes with otherworldly textures. In 1988, Tony Cragg was awarded the Turner Prize from the Tate Gallery, London, England. Tony Cragg has exhibited in museums throughout the world including The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas; the Tate Gallery, London, England; Musee National d’Art Moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Wiener Secession, Vienna, Austria; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain.

London Art Award nomination Tony Cragg: ‘I’m not a religious person—I’m an absolute materialist—and for me material is exciting and ultimately sublime. When I’m involved in making sculpture, I’m looking for a system of belief or ethics in the material. I want that material to have a dynamic, to push and move and grow.’

The Telegraph: “His move away from assemblage towards a material freighted with art-historical baggage could well have made Cragg look antediluvian. But as a show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art reveals, over the last 20 years Cragg not only faced the challenge but revelled in it, making bronzes that weigh many tons, and yet look as though they’d been freed from the laws of gravity and inertia, zigzagging giddily upwards, as vertiginous in their verticality as Brancusi’s Endless Column. In these amazing sculptures Cragg appears at times to be engaging in a private conversation with the great masters of early 20th-century sculpture.”

Cragg: “There is this idea that sculpture is static, or maybe even dead, but I feel absolutely contrary to that. I’m not a religious person—I’m an absolute materialist—and for me material is exciting and ultimately sublime. When I’m involved in making sculpture, I’m looking for a system of belief or ethics in the material. I want that material to have a dynamic, to push and move and grow.

“I also want that to happen over the course of making things, so that as soon as one generation of sculptures has gone up, another generation is coming on and things are growing up around me. That’s how it seems to work for me.”

The Liverpool-born visual artist is currently the director of Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and has lived in Germany since 1977. He won the Turner prize in 1988, and for his services to art received a CBE in 2002. He also opened a sculpture park in Wuppertal, Germany. All his sculptures are handmade, and he is well-known for scorn of factory-made art; likening non-handmade works to relatives that one has never met.

 View Tiny Craggs work in a Waldfrieden Sculpture Partk in Germany

Tsvetana,

for the ArtChronicle





LONDON-CASS FOUNDATION SCULPTURE PLANS 2012

21 10 2010

LONDON. Exhibition Road, home to the South Kensington museums, is to be lined with ten new and recent sculptures by UK artist Tony Cragg during the 2012 summer Paralympic Games.

The scheme to take over the pedestrianised thoroughfare is led by the Cass Sculpture Foundation, a charitable trust that commissions and sells monumental work on display at its 26-acre estate at Goodwood, near Brighton.
“As a partner of the Cultural Olympiad, we have been working on the Exhibition Road project for the past two years with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea,” says entrepreneur and philanthropist Wilfred Cass, who established the foundation in 1992. ( Right, Photo of Tony Cragg, Sculptor-www.tony-cragg.com. View a video of on Cragg’s work, click here.)

In another significant move, culture minister Ed Vaizey has expressed interest in the unique funding model of the foundation. Ahead of the 20 October comprehensive spending review, the politician was no doubt keen to discover how the organisation has survived without receiving any funding from state-backed bodies such as Arts Council England.
“The charity’s simple business model effectively means that no outside funding is necessary,” says Cass. “The overheads of the foundation are paid for in full by admission charges and events.” Ed Wilde, technical director at the foundation, says: “When a piece by a particular artist is sold, we will commission another work from them using the foundation’s half of the proceeds. This effectively means that the artists will benefit from 100% of the net profit of a sale, even though the contractual fee is 50/50.”

The sculpture park attracts about 18,000 visitors a year, who pay £10 each to enter. Major sales recently have been to foreign collectors such as Portuguese billionaire José Berardo.

“People find it difficult to understand that a charity can also be commercial but isn’t this the kind of scheme favoured by the current government? With institutions such as the arts council and museums throughout the country facing major cuts, we see our role as working more closely with these bodies,” adds Cass.

 

 

 

VITAL FACTS ABOUT THE CASS SCULPTURE FOUNDATION

The Cass Sculpture Foundation has won a broad international reputation by carefully honing its expertise in the commissioning and sale of large-scale sculpture from the finest British artists.

Profits from all sales are split equally between the artist and the foundation to date we have displayed over 440 new sculptures and have provided an internationally renowned platform for a significant number of British sculptors.
We are now extending our visibility and international profile by planning a major series of events outside of Goodwood.

 

 

Tsvetana Yvanova

Editor,The Art Chronicle








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