Cragg's work is based first on observation and understanding of the natural and material worlds, then an intuitive and exuberant engagement with the possibilities of volume, material, scale and image. In 'Be that as it may' Weiner focuses on the concept of truncation, a mathematical term referring to the discarding of unnecessary digits, as an inherent meaning and material reality.
This autumn, Tony Cragg presents a powerful new selection of works at Lisson Gallery in London. This is Cragg’s twelfth exhibition at Lisson Gallery, representing more than three decades of collaboration since his groundbreaking first show in 1979.
Cragg’s work is based first on observation and understanding of the natural and material worlds, then an intuitive and exuberant engagement with the possibilities of volume, material, scale and image. He continues to find endless possibilities of formal and associative significance in two broad bodies of work: Early Forms, in which vessels are turned into and around themselves to create delightful paradoxes of containment; and Rational Beings, where human profiles provide the sometimes evident, sometimes deeply hidden source material for wild improvisations on natural processes and the forms they give rise to.
New Early Form works in the show, cast in bronze, demonstrate an ever greater boldness and formal assurance. The core of the exhibition however is dedicated to dramatic extensions of the Rational Beings methodology. Cragg explores the tension between dynamic form and surface by using materials with widely varying qualities of mass and surface, including richly veined marble, vibrantly patinated bronze, cast iron and wood. His invention is most notable in the way these new works are both more complex in their detail, and at the same time presented within strong ‘whole’ forms such as spheres or discs. The exhibition contains work on both intimate and larger sculptural scales, provoking different engagements with the viewer. Most dramatic is a new, never previously shown wooden work on a monumental scale nearly four metres wide and over three metres tall.
Tony Cragg’s restless, ambitious search for new meanings in the fabric of the world has its core in studio practice, from the intimate discipline of drawing to the material experimentation and large-scale fabrication carried out with his longstanding studio team in Wuppertal in Germany, where the artist has been based since 1977. The past two years have also seen important new presentations of recent and older work at the Louvre in Paris, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, and CAFA Museum in Beijing followed by a tour to other Chinese venues in Chengdu and Shanghai. Most recently, he presented major sculptures in Exhibition Road, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum in a project curated by Cass Sculpture Foundation.
Cragg also devotes much of his considerable energy to his sculpture park, Waldfrieden, in Wuppertal and to his important work as Director of the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, Germany’s leading and historic school of art.
Be that as it may
Lisson Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new works by seminal American artist, Lawrence Weiner. Widely recognised for his pioneering role in the development of conceptualism in the 1960s, Weiner has spent the last five decades deconstructing artistic practices into various concepts of language and idea.
In his new show, Weiner focuses on the concept of truncation, a mathematical term referring to the discarding of unnecessary digits, as an inherent meaning and material reality. His works will populate the gallery walls on a grand and small scale, and will include a new piece occupying the entirety of a 12 metre wall. In the upper space of 52-54 Bell Street are two facing works which reverberate off one another: PUSHED AS IF & LEFT AS IS and STASIS AS TO VECTOR (ALL) IN DUE COURSE (both works 2012).
Weiner is primarily a sculptor working with language. His artistic process sees him work with various sculptural materials, translating the experience into text. The resulting texts are often ambiguous and open to interpretation, leaving space for multiple iterations of the same piece.
The manifestations of his work are similarly open-ended and Weiner considers the conveying of information as the core of the work, taking precedence over its physicality. The multitude of forms his works have taken over the years bears testament to this, with previous works sung, painted or engraved on walls, enacted, built, printed or stamped on coins and manhole covers.
The public realm has played an important part throughout Weiner’s career, with his slogans creeping plant-like across the facades of public buildings around the world, translated into numerous languages. This aspect of his practice remains key and is brought into play at Lisson Gallery with a vinyl work printed across the gallery’s front window, THIS AS THAT (BE THAT AS IT MAY) (2012). Projected inwards and outwards, the work is to be viewed from inside the gallery and from the street simultaneously, with nothing occupying the room itself.
Weiner’s desire to put work out in the world for all to read and engage with dates back to his earliest experiences of art growing up in the South Bronx, New York. He says, “I did not have that advantage of a middle-class perspective. Art was something else; art was the notations on the wall, or art was the messages left by other people. I grew up in a city where I had read the walls; I still read the walls. I love to put work of mine out on the walls and let people read it. Some will remember it and then somebody else comes along and puts something else over it. It becomes archaeology rather than history.”
From the seminal Statements of 1968, his first book, to his many iconic urban and public installations, Weiner continues to be internationally recognised as one of the foremost artistic practitioners working in America today. His new exhibition at Lisson Gallery gives audiences in the UK the chance to engage with his poetic and eloquent texts.
Opening 28 november
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 11am-5pm
29 Bell Street, London