A quest to understand world around us
Sculptor Tony Cragg's first solo exhibition in China at Lisson Gallery Shanghai features a selection of recent works in bronze and stone, highlighting the distinguished practice of the 72-year-old British artist who has been hugely influential since the 1970s.
This exhibition comprises seven sculptures, created between 2018 and 2021, that demonstrate Cragg's enduring interest in the dynamic power of matter to assume form. At the core of his work is an acute observation and understanding of the world around us, and a process of continual inquiry into reshaping what we see, with each work exploring the possibilities of material, scale and volume.
Cragg used to create works out of marble, glass, sandstone, fiberglass, wood, cast and constructed steel, as well as many from plastic objects he found. This exhibit, however, focuses on sculptures created from bronze, and one new piece – "Masks" (2021) – from stone.
They express the resonance of stacking in Cragg's practice, a technique he has been exploring since the 1970s. These works show how a solid, cohesive form can be created from intimate, disparate parts.
The sculpture "Pair" (2018), consisting of multi-piled wooden objects cast in bronze, exudes dynamism and movement despite the solidity of the material.
"Senders" (2019), "In Frequencies" (2020) and "Mean Average" (2021) also present recurrent forms and materials that Cragg returns to in his practice, connecting these recent works with his history as an artist.
His technique of layering forms is rooted in his geological and environmental concerns, dating back to the sculptural work "Stack" he presented at London's Tate art gallery in 1975 and "Minster" at Hayward Gallery in 1987, both of which employed a multitude of random, recycled and geological materials.
Stacked with numerous turquoise layers, "Untitled" (2020) speaks to Cragg's early experiences working in a chemistry laboratory after his graduation from art school in the late 1960s, and traces back to these early works utilizing plastic objects to reimagine forms in his own language.
Dates: Through January 15 (Tuesday to Saturday), 11am-6pm
Venue: Lisson Gallery
Address: 2/F, 27 Huqiu Road