Born 1949, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Lives and works in Wuppertal, Germany
Tony Cragg’s forms marry figuration with abstraction and have the uncanny ability to offer one form and almost immediately lead the viewer to see something different. He works across a wide variety of media: wood, bronze, steel, cast iron, and stone to create sculpture that suggests movement frozen in time or things on the verge of becoming something else. Cragg’s bulbous, turning, and changing sculptures have led art historians to see citations of the Italian Futurists (Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms in the Continuity of Space or Renato Giuseppe Bertelli’s Continuous Profile of the face of Benito Mussolini). Those in tune with the visual experience of pop culture might see inklings of the mercurial forms of Terminator II. However, Cragg is not in the practice of culling artistic or popular forms. His are intuitive and studied investigations into the shapes, rhythms, and energies of the materials he chooses.
Tony Cragg received his BA from the Wimbledon School of Art in 1973 and his MA from the London Royal College of Art in 1977. He moved to Germany and in 1978 began teaching at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, where he continues to teach. Cragg participated in the 1982 and 1987 editions of Documenta, the international exhibition held in Kassel, Germany. In 1988 Cragg won the Turner Prize in Great Britain and represented the UK at the Venice Biennale. His first solo show in New York was held in 1989 at the Marion Goodman Gallery, where he is still represented. The Whitechapel Art Gallery in London organized a retrospective of Tony Cragg’s work in 1996. Cragg’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Tate Collection, London; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.