"I see art as an addition to, and an expansion of, the sciences." Tony Cragg

From the 31st of March to the 12th August 2012, the Lugano Museo d’Arte presents at Villa Ciani an exhibition of the work of British sculptor Tony Cragg, universally considered as one of the most important living artists today.

Born in Liverpool in 1949, but resident in Wuppertal since 1977, for many years Tony Cragg has created revolutionary sculptural forms which have nonetheless evolved over the years with all the consistency and method belonging to the great tradition.
The Villa Ciani exhibition traces the artist’s career from the end of the Seventies right up to the most recent works, through some forty assemblages and sculptures (some of which are monumental and as such are displayed in the villa’s park), and more than one-hundred drawings and engravings.

To welcome visitors are the famous compositions made of plastic chips, collected as they were as precious naturalist finds. Tony Cragg’s work abolishes the distinction between what is natural and what is produced by man, and offers an interpretation of phenomena, unknown to us or which can not be seen, such as the principle of organic growth or the atomic nature of matter.

The first of the large sculptures on display, Minster, resulting from stacking of metallic objects of ever-smaller diameter, appears as if it grew spontaneously, year after year, like a stalagmite, or vegetable.

Curiosity for natural phenomena finds its roots in Cragg’s training before approaching art, in which he attended scientific courses and worked for two years as a laboratory technician. After becoming a sculptor, he did not seek to deny these experiences, which, on the contrary, represent a starting point in any understanding of his oeuvre. Among the works on display, Multistamp presents itself as a large molecule in blown glass. More Angels features wooden objects whose surfaces, pierced by metallic hooks, appear to be swarming with atoms running across them. The objects, instead of being solids distinct from the space around them, become therefore elements of a whole where there are no precise boundaries.
A series of works called Early Forms stresses, through the means of an elastic volute, the transformation of an object into another: a bottle mutates into a bucket, an amphora into a vase. Before the observer, the uninterrupted series of solids which could exist between the two well-known forms unravels.

The representation of the intangible expresses itself, finally, in sculptures which integrate the fourth dimension, time and movement. Among the artist’s most recent works, irregularly developed spiral columns reveal, to an attentive look, human profiles. Such profiles appear, disappear or change with every modification of our point of view, like faces in a crowd that’s continuously moving.

The beautiful drawings and engravings which will be accompanying the sculptures and the installations on display reveal the creative logic underlying the artist’s work and highlight the relationship linking works that might be chronologically distant or apparently unrelated.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Silvana Editoriale, featuring illustrations of all the works on display, essays by the curators and a yet unpublished interview with the artist.