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Material Matter: an interview with Tony Cragg

Rajesh Punj

Tony Cragg’s new works appear as these attractive alien interventions that are as well suited to the set of a science fiction film, as they are “sculptures as stage” as he described them. Brightly coloured contortions of wood, metal and glass that have been perfectly manipulated by man and machine represent for Cragg a kind of beauty that is closer to nature and as far removed from man’s modernist ideals as his practice allows. Reacting to the atmosphere every single twist and turn of the organic and artificial elements of his works are regarded by the celebrated British sculptor as a moral mutiny against the hardened line and fixed edge that defines everything else.

As his new sculptures challenge our understanding of the physical constitution of an object, with its inner workings concealed by its encasing. Focusing on the foundation of a form Cragg invites us to scrutinise over the anatomy of our living and working environment, as we are surrounded by technological apparatus that are operative whilst being unobtrusive. By which the slick simplicity of everything new has rendered an object’s complexity invisible.

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