British sculptor Tony Cragg presents his first museum show in China, Sculptures and Drawings, at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Museum in Beijing. Cragg, whom the exhibition’s press release hails as “one of the world’s greatest living sculptors,” has compiled 127 works—50 major sculptures and a series of watercolors and drawings—for the large-scale show, focusing mainly on his creations from the last 15 years.
The largest of Cragg’s sculptures dwarf patrons as they walk by, hulking and solid, yet with a seemingly earthly elegance. Pieces such as Luke (2008) and Elbow (2010) look as though they may have found at the bottom of the ocean, created by changing tides, and Minister (1988) resembles an ancient cave’s stalagmites. Cragg himself talks about his sculptures as though they are a form of found art. He says, “The material finds itself in a new form and the sculptor finds himself with new content and a new meaning.”
In contrast to the artist’s sculptures, Cragg’s drawings are perhaps more frenetic; repeated patterns, sketchy lines and smudged pigment fill the canvases from edge to edge. In works like Traffic, for instance, it is only on second glance that one sees columns of cars and buses emerge from the blotted etching. But like his sculptures, Cragg’s drawings possess a sense of continual movement.
Tony Cragg, Companions (2008)