Material is Everything
Tony Cragg Awarded the Cologne Fine Art Prize
||Constant change is a constant in Tony Cragg’s
work. And thinking with material. Scarcely another artist has imbued
bronze, stainless steel, stone, and plastic will such dynamic elegance.
The artist, who was born in Liverpool in 1949, was recently awarded the
Cologne Fine Art Prize. The award will be presented to Cragg on
November 20, the day the Cologne Fine Art & Antiques art fair opens.
“I’m a materialist; material is everything,” said the artist, who has lived in Wuppertal, Germany, since 1977, in an interview
with ArtMag. “My intelligence, my emotions are phenomena of matter.”
Cragg’s monumental sculpture “Secretions” (1998) from the Deutsche Bank
Collection attests to his engagement with unusual materials. It is on
view in the foyer of Winchester House, the bank’s London headquarters.
Thousands of white plastic playing dice are arranged together like
molecules to create a technoid organic object. Its shimmering surfaces
make “Secretions” appear to be in a constant state of flux. Numerous
works on paper by the artist are also found in the Deutsche Bank
Cragg is the first sculptor to be honored with the
prize, which is awarded by Koelnmesse and the Bundesverband Deutscher
Galerien (BVDG). Cragg, who is the rector of the Düsseldorf Art
Academy, has received many other awards for this artistic work,
including the Turner Prize in 1988 and Japan’s Praemium Imperiale in 2007. He was invited to the documenta in Kassel twice and to the Venice Biennale
four times. At the Cologne Fine Art und Antiques fair (November 21 –
25, 2012) a special exhibit of Cragg’s drawings is on display in the
“works on paper” section. Many artists who received the Cologne Fine
Art Prize are represented in the Deutsche Bank Collection, including Dieter Roth, Thomas Bayrle, Astrid Klein, Sigmar Polke, Thomas Schütte, Katharina Sieverding, and Georg Baselitz.