TONY CRAGG: SCULPTURES & DRAWINGS
This exhibition forms our flagship arts project for UK NOW. Organized by the British Council with the help of CAFA Museum in Beijing, the new Museum of Contemporary Art in Chengdu, the new Himalayas Art Museum in Shanghai and Tony Cragg’s own studio, it is based on the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh's 2011 summer exhibition and has been expanded to include a total of 49 large sculptures and 127 beautiful works on paper.
Although Cragg has shown individual works in China, this is the first opportunity for a Chinese audience to explore his work in depth in a major solo show.
Cragg has personally selected the works featured in this exciting exhibition himself and has included both indoor and outdoor pieces, such as three of his most recent works; Companions, Manipulation and Versus which were shown for the first time They were received in Texas, USA, in January 2012 to great acclaim.
Opening the day after the UK Now festival press conference and four weeks before the festival itself kicks off, Tony Cragg: Sculptures and Drawings exhibition opened at Beijing’s CAFA Museum, which is attached to the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Art.
British Council Director Arts, China, David Elliott reported:
CAFA Museum provided a particularly sympathetic setting for Cragg’s work. The main gallery’s naturally-lit, curved white expanses offset the weird, wonderfully shaped, and often surprisingly colourful sculptures, while the more conventional rooms on two adjacent floors were perfect for the works on paper, which for me were a revelation. A few other very large sculptures were placed outdoors. The catalogue too is a gorgeously designed, spacious (258 pages) affair.
The opening comprised a well-attended press conference, speeches and a lecture by Cragg, while the following day we organized a masterclass for CAFA’s sculpture students.
The exhibition has created quite a stir in Beijing, and we’re hoping for similar reactions in Chengdu, where we showed Made in Britain last year (in a different museum), and Shanghai, which promises to be an important venue (designed by the same architect who designed CAFA Museum, Arata Isozaki). We’re also arranging a major educational programme for the latter.
Born in Liverpool in 1949, Cragg began his career as a laboratory assistant, helping to test, manipulate and develop different types of rubber. During this time he also studied art and began to use drawing to understand the experiments in the laboratory. Gradually, these drawings came to have more significance for him than the experiments themselves.
Cragg’s background in science partly informed his imaginative approach to making sculptures. His work reflects an intense curiosity that has driven him to create, test, push and pull materials, to see what each one does most naturally: this has been a defining characteristic of Cragg’s work throughout his career. Cragg’s exhibitions have been toured extensively across Europe and the USA for thirty-five years.
The exhibition runs until 15 April and then tours to Chengdu and Shanghai.
Existing or coming into being at the same period; of today or of the present. The term that designates art being made today.
The depiction of shapes and forms on a flat surface chiefly by means of lines although colour and shading may also be included. Materials most commonly used are pencil, ink, crayon, charcoal, chalk and pastel, although other materials, including paint, can be used in combination.
A three-dimensional work of art. Such works may be carved, modelled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, relief, and made in a huge variety of media. Contemporary practice also includes live elements, as in Gilbert & George 'Living Sculpture' as well as broadcast work, radio or sound sculpture.