28 November 2012 – 12 January 2013
This autumn, Tony Cragg presents a powerful new selection of works at Lisson Gallery in London. This is Cragg’s twelfth exhibition at Lisson Gallery, representing more than three decades of collaboration since his groundbreaking first show in 1979.
Cragg’s work is based first on observation and understanding of the natural and material worlds, then an intuitive and exuberant engagement with the possibilities of volume, material, scale and image. He continues to find endless possibilities of formal and associative significance in two broad bodies of work: Early Forms, in which vessels are turned into and around themselves to create delightful paradoxes of containment; and Rational Beings, where human profiles provide the sometimes evident, sometimes deeply hidden source material for wild improvisations on natural processes and the forms they give rise to.
New Early Form works in the show, cast in bronze, demonstrate an ever greater boldness and formal assurance. The core of the exhibition however is dedicated to dramatic extensions of the Rational Beings methodology. Cragg explores the tension between dynamic form and surface by using materials with widely varying qualities of mass and surface, including richly veined marble, vibrantly patinated bronze, cast iron and wood. His invention is most notable in the way these new works are both more complex in their detail, and at the same time presented within strong ‘whole’ forms such as spheres or discs. The exhibition contains work on both intimate and larger sculptural scales, provoking different engagements with the viewer. Most dramatic is a new, never previously shown wooden work on a monumental scale nearly four metres wide and over three metres tall.