Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents the most extensive UK exhibition to date by leading sculptor Tony Cragg. New sculptures, works on paper and pieces drawn from nearly five decades of Cragg’s practice will survey and demonstrate the artist’s pioneering and continued mastery of materials.
Cragg’s extraordinary career has its roots in a fascination for the possibilities of the material world, which he considers to be ‘the huge storeroom [in which] lie the keys to essential processes and explanations of our existence’. Cragg’s artistic practice developed from drawings he made to document experiments whilst working as a lab technician at the National Rubber Producers Research Association (1966–68). He went on to study at London’s Wimbledon School of Art and the Royal College of Art and during two summer vacations worked nightshifts in a foundry that manufactured components for engines. The combination of art and the experience of the physical transformation of materials through industrial processes is the cornerstone of Cragg’s practice.
The exhibition shows 14 large sculptures outside, 35 indoors and 80 works on paper; it presents an overview of Cragg’s important career and demonstrates that he is an artist in full command of his chosen discipline. It is given further life through the Project Space, which shares an inspirational insight into the artist’s studio through the generous loan of personal materials, given context through a chronological overview of the development of Cragg’s practice.
In YSP’s 40th year, the exhibition offers the opportunity to experience the work of one of the world’s leading artists. As Cragg himself believes ‘go into a museum and you will automatically be confronted with a whole category of objects that are all, every single one, because of the concentration and the commitment of the individuals that have stood behind them and made them, fighting against mediocrity.’