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Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg: Digital Skin, 2006, Brazensculpture from two parts, 80x85x80 &135x150x80 cm

Prolonged until 9. January 2010.


Not long ago, from January to May 2008, the refined sculpture of Tony Cragg confronted Franz Xaver Messerschmidt's grimacing faces in the Unteres Belvedere (Vienna). From 10 September 2009 his most recent works are to be seen in a solo exhibition at KnollGalériaBudapest.

The English born artist studied at the Royal College of Art in London where he was influenced by the concept artist Richard Long. He moved to Germany in the mid 1970s to take up a teaching post, since when he has been living and working in Wuppertal.

Cragg and KnollGalerieWien&Budapest have been successfully working in collaboration since the start of the 1990s. In this time 15 retrospective shows of his work have been organised at museums in East and Central Europe, most recently at the Central House of Artists in Moscow in 2005, which has had a highly positive impact on the reputations of both the artist and the gallery throughout East Europe and in Russia in particular.

In our media-controlled world driven by movement, as a quasi-classical sculptor Cragg ventures to dedicate his work to the free-standing sculpture, and has been amply rewarded for doing so with a series of highly regarded awards (including: The Praemium Imperiale in 2007, The Kulturstiftung Hartwig Piepenbrock Prize for Sculpture in 2002, the Turner Prize in 1988) and shows at the key international art centres (Unteres Belvedere Wien in 2008, Venice Biennial in 1997, Centre George Pompidou Paris in 1996).

Cragg's sculptures play with the perception of people, where a continual attempt is made to categorise the undefined by projections of familiar forms and patterns. He works with apparent stratifications, twists, distensions and shifts in the material along an imaginary articulated column, or 'spine'.

Cragg: "I think it is helpful and even necessary to understand sculpture as being the result of some causality and thus to see the valency of the surface of sculpture. Giving real value to the sculptural surface. It's not just a chance thing." (From a conversation with Jon Wood, 'Making Faces, Talking Sculptures', in: Tony Cragg >< F. X. Messerschmidt, 2008, p.12)

His elegant sculptures of wood, stone, plaster or bronze inspire the imagination with their playful convolutions. We explore the positive and negative of their silhouettes, the interiors and exteriors in the search for familiar structures, forms, bodies and landscapes... And those already familiar with Cragg's new sculptures search for the faces which permeate his work so strikingly. Held fast in one of these chiselled stone profiles, they are brought to life as we move, altering their facial expressions, wandering up and down the sculpture, furcating, hovering, until they eventually lose themselves in their own twists.

As Cragg said: "The intention was not to make portraits, but rather to mark the axial views with recognisable silhouettes. One step away from the axis and the faces start to grimace, and even further away from the axis the column melts into unexpected sculptural volumes." (Tony Cragg, 'The Articulated Column Continued (2006)', in: Tony Cragg, In and Out of Material, 2006, p.190)

A selection of the most recent works from the studio of Tony Cragg will fill visitors to KnollGalériaBudaepst with amazement from 10 September 2009.

Please contact us if you require further information and images of the exhibition.