Tony Cragg

Germano Celant, Author Thames & Hudson $65 (351p) ISBN 978-0-500-23723-6
Cragg, a British sculptor who lives in Germany, uses materials in ingenious and surprising ways. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he constructed two-dimensional figures and abstractions with fragments of brightly colored plastic dishes, pail lids, baskets, bottles, toys and other everyday objects. Since the mid-1980s, he has used ceramic, glass, metal, plastic, polyurethane, wood and stone to create more monumental, three-dimensional pieces into which he sometimes incorporates bicycles, bottles, furniture and other artifacts. Some of these later works are abstract, but more often they are suggestive of things in the real world such as cylinders, mountains, landscapes, buildings, urns, tools and machinery. The 249 superb color and black-and-white photographs in this handsome monograph do ample justice to the strange beauty, inventiveness and wry humor of Cragg's sculpture. It is fortunate that the works can speak for themselves, because the introductory text by Celant, curator of contemporary art at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, is so full of pompous jargon that it is nearly incomprehensible (""the language of Cragg's most recent work attests to the asphyxiation of sculpture....the artist subjects things to a fierce process of alteration, reviving the spasm of their feline corporeality""); brief statements by the artist are equally unintelligible. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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