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Tony Cragg (B. 1949)
Tony Cragg (B. 1949)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Tony Cragg (B. 1949)

Bust

Details
Tony Cragg (B. 1949)
Bust
incised with the artist's initials 'TC' (on the base of the sculpture)
stainless steel
68 7/8 x 30 ¾ x 25 5/8in. (175 x 78 x 65cm.)
Executed in 2014, this work is unique
Provenance
Private Collection, Germany.
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

Lot Essay

A turbulent, towering mass of metal, splicing through the atmosphere in an elliptical whirlwind, Tony Cragg’s recent work, Bust, is a mature example of the artist’s experimentations with form and space. With its twisting, contorted human stature, the helical asymmetry conceals its amorphic qualities. The mirror of stainless steel initiates a phenomenological inquiry into the affiliation between plastic form and external ambiance, sculpting physical space in an implosion of meandering material. Whilst rendering human form on abstract terms, where convoluted faces wrench in liminal space, Bust is an interrogation into the relationship between solidity and void, informed by both how the former affects the latter, and how the interpreter experiences this dichotomy. The title of the work subverts the art-historical canon of a prestigious sculptural genre, with the physical mutation of the steel propelled into human-like figuration by an anthropomorphic scale, so that the work challenges the viewer’s own stature.

A masterful example of Cragg’s Rational Beings, his body of work executed from the 1990s, Bust complies with the group’s overarching principles involving a fusion of geometric and organic components cast as a kinetic tornado of hidden form. Focusing on underlying molecular structures, Cragg creates shells for biological matter, layering his sculptures so that these imperceptible attributes are manifested in spatial motion, whilst dissecting the space so that both atmosphere and body seem caught between two alternating dimensions. These aspects offer an enthralling example of Cragg’s intentions to question our own relationship to sculpture and, furthermore, the world around us; as Jon Wood has noted, ‘sculpture, for Cragg, represents an active way of interrogating the world and a catalyst for heightening our sensitivity to it. It is, for him, needed not only to visualise, shape and demonstrate complicated ideas, but also to explore the material world and uncover its possibilities.’ (J. Wood, Tony Cragg: In and out of Material, exh. cat., Akademie der Künste, Berlin, pp. 14-15). In its vortexed velocity, its polished steel reflecting an alternate reality, Bust is an interpenetrative investigation into both the form of matter and the matter of form.

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