tony cragg began his art career making sculptures from refuse. the act of repurposing others’ discards automatically provided cragg with thematic concerns that sustained his work for decades. early in his career, he constructed sculptures by stacking, splitting and crushing discarded construction materials. circa 1978 he began to collect plastic fragments [found rubblsh] and arranged them into color categories (my personal favorite period of his art). these sculptures took on a 2.5D quality; all were mounted on floors and walls that created silhouette-ish images. this period of cragg’s ouvre consists of broken pieces of found rubbish and when first shown, were interpreted as a commentary on the economic difficulties face by england at the time. we can now reinterpret the work as prescient commentary of the current global warming, resource gobbling and polluted world in which we live.
cragg’s current work has unfortunately succumbed to that of the successful artist: bronze sculptures. while they are conceptually interesting, none pack the powerful eco-conscious thought of the previous works. (tony cragg [b. 1949 in l’pool] is a british born sculptor and artist who has lived in germany since 1977.)