Marian Goodman Gallery New York is delighted to present an exhibition of new sculpture by Tony Cragg opening on Tuesday, September 12th which will be on view through Saturday, October 14th, 2017.
One of the world’s most distinguished contemporary sculptors, the past two years brought several important solo presentations of Cragg’s work to Europe including The Hermitage in St. Petersburg and a major career retrospective, Parts of the World at the Von der Heydt Museum in Germany, in 2016. A comprehensive exhibition was held at the Luxemburg Modern Art Museum, and A Rare Category of Objects, one of the most extensive outdoor exhibitions to date, was shown at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire UK in 2017.
The upcoming gallery exhibition will feature the latest developments in Tony Cragg’s sculptural oeuvre during the period of 2015-2017 as Cragg continues his pursuit of giving expression to the intrinsic and dynamic relationship between ourselves and our material surroundings and the things in it. This new body of work reiterates his position as a visionary materialist whose depths of observation have provided boundless energy and a lifetime of experimentation in sculpture. Cragg’s focus is steadfastly on the expressive potential of the material world and the necessity of sculpture to depart from our everyday perception and venture beyond “preconceived notions of an already occupied language of form and experience”.
Throughout his career Cragg has drawn on both the natural world and industrial systems to create new forms and a new sculptural language. Cragg’s abiding interest in providing an alternative to the utilitarian sphere is in evidence in this exhibition, as he presents a visually compelling, vital and diverse new category of forms beyond the mediated nature populating our current reality.
The exhibition will present multiple departures in a new series of works. Turn of Events and Conversion (2017), two large scale painted aluminum works, a hybrid of organic and synthetic forms, proceed from a geometric base and articulate from the epicenter with vegetal forms assuming an arrangement of unrestrained volume. Works like Sail in white onyx and Versus Atlantis in wood (both from 2017) evolve from earlier works such as Versus (2011) in which the visual appearance of form and surface is revealed as the direct consequence of the interior structures, energy and geometries. Cragg states that ‘there exists a real psychological pressure and need for the viewer to see beyond the surface and that all forms we see provide a connection to the greater and more fundamental external and internal forces that make them.’
The Skull series, including Temple and Labyrinth (2016) are tubular works that show a different approach but have their origin in this same set of interests. The outer surfaces are cut away to display a cavernous internal structure that defines the overall form.
Runner (2017) in stainless steel suggest a restless backwards and forwards pivot around a pair of shifting axes with ever-changing viewpoints. The latest version of Cragg’s series of Manipulations brings us full circle to the sculptor, the maker himself, for whom ‘the human hand is the cutting edge of material development.’
Cragg exhibits for the first time in the US sculptures from a group of works he calls Hedges (2017) . Based on his childhood memory of a characteristic of the English countryside, Cragg reiterates in an entirely new manner the theme of the relationship between interior and exterior, the man made and natural, taking inspiration from a form found in nature to show “the life beneath a surface and using sculptural means to recreate that life”. This series is “a good example of an outer skin hiding something that is alone with energy underneath- a curtain of little leaves… simultaneously a barrier and haven, not exactly a closed surface but difficult to judge in terms of depth, content and signs of life.”
Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool, England, and has lived and worked in Wuppertal, Germany, since 1977. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Barnett Newman Foundation Award in 2016; the Rheinischer Kulturpreis, Sparkassen Kulturstiftung, 2013; the Cologne Fine Art Award in 2012; the prestigious Praemium Imperiale Award, Tokyo in 2007; and the winner in 1988 of the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery, London. He served as Director of the Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf, after having been a Professor there since 1988. He was awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, (CBE) in 2003, is a recipient of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and was given a knighthood for his life’s work in 2016.
During the past few years, there have been several important solo exhibitions of Cragg’s work worldwide: Tony Cragg, MUDAM Luxembourg (2017); Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2017); Tony Cragg, Museo Nacional Havanna, Cuba (2017); Tony Cragg: Retrospektive at the Von der Heydt, Wuppertal, Germany (2016); Tony Cragg: Sculptures and Drawings at the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (2016); Tony Cragg at the Benaki Museum, Athens (2015); Walks of Life at Madison Square Park, New York (2014); Tony Cragg at the Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan (2014); Tony Cragg at the Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany (2013); Tony Cragg: Sculptures and Drawings at CAFA Art Museum, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (2012); Tony Cragg: Seeing Things at The Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2011); Tony Cragg: Sculptures and Drawings at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2011); and Figure In / Figure Out at the Musée du Louvre, Paris (2011).
A solo exhibition of Cragg’s work will open this fall in Iran at the Teheran Museum of Contemporary Art where it will be on view from October 2017 through January 2018, travelling thereafter to the Isfahan Museum of Art (February – April 2018), and the Sanati Contemporary Arts Museum, Kerman (May – July 2018). A forthcoming exhibition at Istanbul Modern opens in December 2017. Tony Cragg’s work will be featured in the outdoor Park Avenue Malls in May of 2018.