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Post-War & Contemporary Art / TONY CRAGG (B. 1949) Pair 2018

Lot 5
(B. 1949)
30 June 2022, 14:00 BST
London, New Bond Street

Sold for £170,400 inc. premium

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Tony Cragg (B. 1949)


incised with the artist's signature and stamped with the foundry mark SCHMAKE DUSSELDORF

100 by 50.4 by 24.5 cm.
39 3/8 by 19 13/16 by 9 5/8 in.

This work was executed in 2018, and is from an edition of 6.


Galleri Andersson/Sandström, Stockholm (#7924)
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

Tony Cragg is one of Britain's greatest living artists. His pieces are transcendent and beautiful. They capture radical bodies that are at once both mathematic and corporeal. These jettisoned figures are precise and defy the human hand yet remain some of the most compelling abstract sculptures to have ever been produced. Pair, presented here, from 2018, is an elegant example of the British artist's work. Impressive in its scale and wonderfully finished in a rich brown patina that gives incredible depth to the bronze surface, it is a remarkable example of Cragg's Rational Beings series that has become so beloved by collectors around the world.

There is an intriguing dialecticism in Cragg's practice. Dealing with organic forms, and often being inspired by the human body in flux, facial expressions and raw emotion, the artist has been a pioneer of sculptural techniques and technologies that isolate, manipulate, and render impossible objects in breath-taking exactitude. Like the pair of towering forms presented here, the artist is consistently placing meaning in dialogue with process – colliding and balancing these two key tenets to his practice. Cragg is one of those rare artists for whom the immaculate finish and refinery of his work only stands to heighten the power of its impression upon a spectator. "There is this idea that sculpture is static, or maybe even dead, but I feel absolutely contrary to that," Cragg has stated in a 2007 interview. "I'm not a religious person – I'm an absolute materialist – and for me material is exciting and ultimately sublime. When I'm involved in making sculpture, I'm looking for a system of belief or ethics in the material. I want that material to have a dynamic, to push and move and grow," (the artist in: Robert Ayers, 'The AI Interview: Tony Cragg', Art Info, 10 May 2007, online).

Cragg has been one of the world's foremost sculptors for more than three decades, bursting to prominence in 1988, the year in which he won both the Turner Prize and was selected to represent the UK at the Venice Biennale. Not only has his work helped to define the plastic arts in museums and within the art market for the past quarter century, but his profound engagement with sculpture has also served to influence subsequent generations of artists as a result of his roles as Professor at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, France (1999-2009) and Professor at Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf, Germany (2009 to present). He has shown in many of the world's most prestigious and important museums and his works are in many of the world's major collections including the Tate London, MoMA New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and many more. The present work, Pair, is a bronze that is uniquely liveable as an indoor sculpture. It demonstrates the perfectionism and incomparable achievements of Cragg's sculptural output, producing works that are completely singular in their approach to humanity and technology. It is an exceptional example, finished in a rarely seen patina, and a centrepiece for any discerning collector.

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