TONY CRAGG SILICON DIOXIDE
Museo del vetro, Murano
December 03, 2021 – August 21, 2022
Opened in 3 December 2021, the exhibition retraces the most significant stages of the English sculptor Tony Cragg’s career, starting with his assemblages, historical works of large dimensions. Next to these important masterpieces from the past are exhibited a variety of more recent works reproducing Cragg’s new curiosity for the various effects of colored glass and reflecting, the research path undertaken by the artist in the last years on the concept of the fluidity of glass. The exhibition, enriched by a series of drawings, prints and watercolors.
Of particular importance for the concept of the show are the sculptures that Cragg began to produce from 2009, when he started to collaborate with Berengo Studio in Merano, which is curating the exhibition at the Museo del Vetro. In a surprising development compared to the large assemblages from the 90s, the sculptures in blown glass have enabled Cragg to access a new dimension of matter.
No longer restricted to the traditional invented forms of bottles and other classic objects, in these more recent works he has been able to explore the possibilities of manipulating matter in a molten state. Exploiting this malleability, in the furnace he “choreographed” elaborate and original compositions that emerged organically, slipping from his mind into the hands of the master glassblowers to be moulded into a new physical presence that resists the stasis of sculpture and instead captures the movement and energy of a single moment.
The artist’s inquiries, stemming from a need to explore matter ontologically and to investigate the relations that regulate the dynamic energy of materials, result in works that successfully combine the inner and exterior balance of forms. Cragg’s works are a reflection on the complexity of physis, reconciling the total comprehension of the organic nature of reality with an acceptance of its less intelligible characteristics.
It is no coincidence, then, that glass has become one of Cragg’s main sources of inspiration: glass is the crucible in which there melt together, broken and recomposed, the organic mechanisms and the free potential of form that trans-forms, that exceeds itself to become something other. Not by chance, this exhibition is entitled Silicon Dioxide, because this is the material used to create glass, which contains not just a necessary organic-chemical structure, but also the creative spark of matter ready to express itself as new form, as a new work of art.
Tony Cragg has been working and exhibiting since 1969. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London and has lived in Wuppertal since 1977. He participated in documenta 7 and 8 and represented Britain at the Biennale in Venice in 1988. He received the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery, London in 1988, the prestigious Praemium Imperiale Award, Tokyo in 2007 and the Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award in 2017. He held professorships at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he was director from 2009 to 2013. He has exhibited extensively in museums worldwide: Tate Gallery, London (1988), Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (1989), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Musée du Louvre, Paris (2011), Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg (2013), Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2016), Boboli Gardens, Firenze (IT) (2019), MuBE, São Paulo (2019) and Houghton Hall, Norfolk (2021).