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Tony Cragg

Cragg is an artist that has been working in the seventies with the recycled and found materials such as things fragments of furniture, household objects, plastic toys, etc., . What I like about his work is that fact that he is painting the objects that he is using. It seems to me that, though the colors, the objects assumed another aspect; they become something else, more precious maybe, but for sure something completely different from what they were at the origin.

Tony Cragg, Canoe, 1982

Canoe marks out the basic shape of the ancient watercraft, assem¬bled from broken and discarded pieces of plastic. It opens up a cyclical dialogue between material, object and image. The objects (battered cans, plastic bottles, toy trucks, laundry baskets, sink tidies) are Cragg’s sculptural materials, but they remain what they are while at the same time standing in as something else, the building blocks for a new image altogether. On an environmental level, it pictures the island nation drowning in trash of its own making, a harbinger of the plastic tidelines found on every beach and shoreline around the world. On a material level, it works its alchemical magic by translating the broken bits of plastic into a formal artistic organisation, with the unnatural and syn¬thetic greens shading delicately into neutral, then yellow, then red.

Britain Seen from the North (1981), also made of various plastic bits and pieces but mounted on the wall and showing a lone figure viewing an upturned map of Britain. The political comment in this works is on the deregulation and expansionism of the new Thatcher government, which rejects all the older and more stable ideals.

Tony Cragg, Britain seen from the north, 1981

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