“Sculpture is just one way of dealing with the big world, looking for new forms and asking new questions about the world we live in, about reality.” Tony Cragg
Tony Cragg's exhibition at Villa Schöningen shows a precise selection of sculptures created over the past six years, as well as drawings and graphics from the past twenty years. The works give an insight into the fascinating diversity and dynamism of the work of this internationally renowned artist.
For Tony Cragg, every imaginable material carries meaning, ideas and emotions. Sculptures made of differently treated wood, cast bronze, hand-blown Murano glass and polished steel can be seen on the first floor of the villa. Despite the difference in material, the sculptures are closely interrelated, which can be seen very nicely in the interplay between the two works Woman's Head made of bronze and Contradiction made of wood. It becomes clear that for the artist every sculpture is a further development of the one that precedes it. Tony Cragg thus created an encyclopedic complete work, a sculptural universe.
In addition to the large sculptural work, an impressive oeuvre of drawings and prints has been created over the past 30 years.
Drawing does not require long preparation, as does working with material for sculptures. The selection of drawings and graphics presented in the Villa Schöningen shows how the works on paper can anticipate what follows in the sculpture.
In conversations with Tony Cragg, however, it becomes increasingly clear that these works are no substitute for sculptures and that one cannot clarify in the drawing what sculpture is. Rather, the artist uses it as a tool to think visually. Freed from the resistance of the material, the drawing gives it a speed and lightness that the material of the sculpture denies. Tony Cragg can discover new territory in the drawing, which can be the starting point for a sculpture, or it is sufficient for himself as “sculpture on the page”.
The exhibition in the Villa Schöningen traces this interrelation in a special way.
Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool in 1949. He lives and works in Wuppertal and is one of the most important sculptors of our time.
In 2016 he became a Knight Bachelor of the British Empire. In 2007 he was awarded the Praemium Imperale and in 1988 the Turner Prize.
Tony Cragg's works can currently be seen in numerous museum exhibitions, such as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, MUDAM Luxembourg, or the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba.
© Villa Schöningen, photos: Noshe