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b. 1949, United Kingdom

Tony Cragg Biography

An acclaimed sculptor of his generation, British artist Tony Cragg is known for the stacked appearance of his sculptures and his use of unconventional materials such as plastic and household items. Increasingly working with more traditional mediums such as marble, bronze and steel over recent years, Cragg's sculptures are characterised by the artist's ongoing concern with the relationship between the natural and the manmade.

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Born in Liverpool, Cragg garnered attention in the 1980s for his use of found everyday objects and detritus, commonly arranged on the floor or fixed to a wall. For New Stones, Newton's Tones (1978), the artist arranged found plastic objects such as combs, toy shovels, bottle caps and spoons according to colour in a rectangular format on the floor. Similarly using manmade objects to depict natural forms in works such as Leaf (1981) or Bird (1980), Cragg pointed to the impact of human intervention on the world at large.

Working with more traditional media such as bronze for the series 'Early Forms' and 'Rational Beings', Cragg explored sculpture's potential to transform the familiar into something new and unusual. 'Early Forms', begun in the late 1980s, is inspired by one of the earliest manmade objects: the vessel. For the series, Cragg distorts and twists diverse forms of vessels to create new objects. In Taurus (1999), for example, the original vessel is unrecognisable in the monumental bronze sculpture whose smooth planes and curvature instead recall oysters or the waves of the sea. By contrast, the later series 'Rational Beings' is concerned with the transformation of the human figure into abstraction. For A Head, I Thought (2011), Cragg contorted a facial profile until it became a new form of abstracted columns and slabs.

Throughout his career, Cragg has cultivated a tiered appearance to his sculptures. The verticality of his recent works is often reminiscent of Brancusi's columns, while the horizontal ellipses that protrude from the columns recall the multi-faceted figures of Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla. Points of View (2013), a set of three seven-metre columns, seems to change shape when viewed from different angles. Unlike the artist's earlier works such as Minster (1990)—which consists of four sculptural forms but is made of circular metal machine parts amassed into towers—Cragg's recent sculptures are often in one solid piece yet retain a 'stacked' illusion through their horizontal extensions.

Cragg completed his studies at the Wimbledon College of Arts, London (1973) and the Royal College of Art, London (1977). A regular presence in international galleries and museums since the late 1970s, his works have been shown at the Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art (2018); The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg (2016); Benaki Museum, Athens (2015); National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung (2013); and Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2011). In 2017 A Rare Category of Objects—a major retrospective of his long career—was organised by Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Cragg has been recognised for his prolific practice from the early days of his career. He was the winner of the Turner Prize in 1988 and in that same year represented Britain at the 43rd Venice Biennale. In 2002 he was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for service to the visual arts and Anglo-German relations. Cragg has also worked as an educator, teaching at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1999–2009) and at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (2009–ongoing). Cragg has been based in Wuppertal since 1977.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018

Tony Cragg Featured Artworks

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Stack by Tony Cragg contemporary artwork
Tony CraggStack, 2018Bronze
65 x 46 x 42 cm
Lisson Gallery Enquire about this work
Over the Earth by Tony Cragg contemporary artwork
Tony CraggOver the Earth, 2017Bronze
95 x 125 x 40 cm
Lisson Gallery Enquire about this work
Ivy by Tony Cragg contemporary artwork
Tony CraggIvy, 2018Bronze, this is a unique version from a maximum of five casts in different patina (color)
205 x 69 x 59 cm
Buchmann Galerie Enquire about this work
Senders by Tony Cragg contemporary artwork
Tony CraggSenders, 2018Bronze
90 x 31 x 37 cm
Marian Goodman Gallery Enquire about this work
Untitled by Tony Cragg contemporary artwork
Tony CraggUntitled, 2018Stainless steel
75 x 36 x 43 cm
Marian Goodman Gallery Enquire about this work
Untitled by Tony Cragg contemporary artwork
Tony CraggUntitled, 2017Bronze
130 x 64 x 64 cm
Wooson Gallery Enquire about this work
Parts of Life by Tony Cragg contemporary artwork
Tony CraggParts of Life, 2014Bronze
141 x 112 x 112 cm
Wooson Gallery Enquire about this work
Versus by Tony Cragg contemporary artwork
Tony CraggVersus, 2014Bronze
58 1/2 x 65 x 25 inches
Not for sale
Beyer Projects

Tony Cragg Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Tony Cragg, Stacks at Lisson Gallery, London
Closed
20 November 2019–29 February 2020 Tony Cragg Stacks Lisson Gallery, Bell Street, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Balthasar Burkhard, Tony Cragg, Alberto Garutti, Joel Sternfeld, On Landscape at Buchmann Galerie, Berlin
Closed
8 November 2019–11 January 2020 Balthasar Burkhard, Tony Cragg, Alberto Garutti, Joel Sternfeld On Landscape Buchmann Galerie, Berlin
Contemporary art exhibition, Tony Cragg, Tony Cragg at Buchmann Galerie, Berlin
Closed
17 November 2018–16 February 2019 Tony Cragg Buchmann Galerie, Buchmann Box, Berlin

Tony Cragg Represented By

Tony Cragg In Ocula Magazine

ADAA The Art Show 2020 Ocula Photolog ADAA The Art Show 2020

Members of The Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) joined forces for The Art Show at the end of February (27 February–1 March 2020). The 2020 iteration saw more than half of its presentations dedicated to a single artist and 19 exhibitions focused on female artists, in addition to vibrant thematic and group surveys.

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Auckland Art Exhibitions: The Lowdown Ocula Report Auckland Art Exhibitions: The Lowdown By Anna Dickie, Auckland

The time is ripe to galvanise New Zealand's public to more fully support its visual arts. With New Zealand-born artists like Simon Denny, Michael Stevenson and Francis Upritchard continuing to gain international acclaim, and a Turner Prize nominee in Luke Willis Thompson, the international art world is beginning to take notice of this small...

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All Hail Xu Zhen: Report From Art021, Shanghai 2014 Ocula Report All Hail Xu Zhen: Report From Art021, Shanghai 2014 By Sam Gaskin, Shanghai

ART021 takes its name from the Shanghai dialing code. The numbers serve as a synonym for the city, but only for people calling from within China—from outside the country, you’d call +8621. Still, 021 make more sense for this fair. Founded in 2013 by local PR director Bao Yifeng and former gallery director Kelly Ying, ART021’s...

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Tony Cragg In Related Press

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Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor and Marina Abramović lead major new exhibition Everything At Once at Store Studios Related Press Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor and Marina Abramović lead major new exhibition Everything At Once at Store Studios 8 September 2017, The Vinyl Factory

This October, Store Studios will host Everything At Once, an extensive off-site exhibition featuring 24 artists currently shown at Lisson Gallery in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

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Tony Cragg’s constantly evolving challenge to mass design Related Press Tony Cragg’s constantly evolving challenge to mass design 19 March 2017, Apollo Magazine

Tony Cragg left the UK for Germany in 1977, the same year Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) was founded on a 500-acre country estate near Wakefield. In the 40 years since, Cragg has become a truly international artist, and YSP an internationally renowned arts venue. Now the two have mounted an extensive exhibition of new and recent works, artfully...

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Tony Cragg walks us around his major survey at Yorkshire Sculpture Park Related Press Tony Cragg walks us around his major survey at Yorkshire Sculpture Park 6 March 2017, Wallpaper*

Tony Cragg began collecting fossils aged 11. His interest in strata, prehistoric forms and found matter have continued to influence his artistic practice as an adult. Over a long and industrious career, Cragg's morphing, geological figures have earned him accolades as far reaching as a Turner Prize in 1988 and a prestigious place at the Venice...

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What exhibitions to see during Frieze Related Press What exhibitions to see during Frieze 4 October 2016, Whitewall

While in London next week for Frieze, don’t forget to get out of the fair tents and explore the many exhibitions on view at galleries and museums around town. Here is a non-exhaustive but selective list that should keep you busy. William Eggleston Portraits at The National Portrait Gallery in Covent Garden July 21-October 23 This...

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