Tony Cragg is an artist who truly combines art with industry. His fascination with the material world began early, with drawings he created to document experiences at the National Rubber Producers Research Association from 1966-1968 informing his artistic focus – and the process by which he sculpts; still today, he starts by drawing. He worked summer nightshifts at a foundry for engine parts whilst an art student, then became fascinated with plastic when he first settled in Wuppertal, Germany in the late 1970s. Yet there is nothing mechanised about Cragg’s practice: unusually, with the help of his studio, he makes all of his sculptures by hand.
This new showcase at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the most extensive UK exhibition of Cragg’s work to date, draws a firm line under the Turner Prize winning artist’s continued mastery of materials. Titled after the artist’s own defining phrase for sculpture, a ‘rare category of objects’, the exhibition will feature new and mature sculptures, drawings and works drawn from nearly five decades of artistic practice in the Underground Gallery and open air. A landmark exhibition for 2017.