Tony Cragg at Reggia di Venaria
Reggia di Venaria, Venaria Reale
June 09, 2022 – January 09, 2023
Three very tall bronze sculptures with the unusual shapes of sinuously twisted columns and elliptical spirals that rise towards the sky in a seemingly precarious balance, stand out in Corso Sebastopoli, Turin, right in front of the entrance to the Olympic Stadium, the former municipal stadium so renamed during the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. The triple installation, named Punti di Vista (Points of view), was commissioned by the De Fornaris foundation for the occasion as a symbol of the Olympic event to Tony Cragg, one of the most successful British contemporary artists in the world, born in Liverpool in 1949 and resident in Wuppertal, Germany, since 1977, where he has created a large sculpture park with exhibitions and works by many famous contemporary artists.
After a 16-year-long absence, Cragg returns to Turin, invited by Guido Curto, the general director of the Consortium of Royal Savoy Residences, to hold an exhibition at Reggia di Venaria. From 9 June 2022 to 8 January 2023 a selection of ten sculptures created between 1997 and 2021 will be placed along the permanent exhibition tour of the Reggia that starts from the Court of Honour, passes through the Upper Park of the Reggia’s Gardens and ends in the atrium of the Juvarra Stables.
Shaped using various materials such as bronze, wood, fibreglass and steel, these large works all feature the typical wavy and sinuous lines that seem fashioned on a gigantic potter’s lathe and recall the genius loci of the Reggia in a sort of post-modern redefinition of the Baroque and Rococo style. Tony Cragg’s work explores the multiple relationships existing between human beings and the environment. Using a wide selection of materials and sculptural techniques, the artist thematises the complex connection between the figure, the object and the landscape which, in Cragg’s view, includes both geological and microbiological systems as well as urban and industrial contexts.
The focal point of Tony Cragg’s artistic work is also hinged upon an incessant process that leads him to explore the possibilities of the material and to remodel the world around us. The artist says: “There are many more things that don’t exist than those that do exist” referring to situations that are still beyond our perception. For Cragg, the sculpture is a method of opening this enormous potential to new forms and meanings as well as dreams and the languages associated with them. Alongside Tony Cragg’s exhibition stands the work Dove le stelle si avvicinano di una spanna in più (Where the stars are coming one span closer) by Giovanni Anselmo, another great contemporary master whose works have been exhibited at Venaria for a long time. This sculpture, despite having been permanently exhibited in the centre of the Gardens’ Grand Parterre for several years, has never had an official presentation to date.