A project conceived especially for Ca’ Pesaro by one of the protagonists of sculpture today, Tony Cragg (Liverpool, 1949). With an itinerary through the three floors of Ca’ Pesaro – from the entrance hall and small room on the ground floor, to the monumental staircase, second floor and façade overlooking the Grand Canal – the exhibition offers forty works of art, in glass, bronze, steel, plastic, wood and stone, but also drawings, preparatory sketches and watercolours, spanning thirty years activity, from the 1980s to today, most of which have never been on show in Italy before.
These are all works that document the versatility of the languages and products of his work, while also establishing a close relation with the permanent works on display in the museum and its rooms.
The exhibition, curated by Silvio Fuso and Jon Wood, is a co-production by Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and KunstMeran/Merano Arte (where it will be on display from 5 February to 28 May 2011, curated by Valerio Dehò), in collaboration with Galleria Michela Rizzo and Caterina Tognon Arte Contemporanea Venice.
After his initial phase (the Seventies), during which he combined coloured fragments of city debris in innovative compositions between collage and sculpture, Tony Cragg gradually moved towards more majestic works in which minimalism became monumental, using huge blocks of wood, iron, bronze and glass fibre. His main interest became “the creation of objects and images that don’t exist in the natural or functional world but that are able to reflect and transmit information and sensations about the world and [its] very existence” (Tony Cragg, 1985). Fundamental is not only the choice of the element to be used in his creations, but also its actual working into forms that are able to develop and be transformed. In what is almost a scientific attitude, Cragg’s “manic” interest for the potential movement of bodies drives him to search for, study and reveal all the possible mutations of a primary structure. All of this takes place within a poetics of creation. Not “closed” forms but ‘openings’ in which the main idea is the relationship with space and between objects, material, and images. A self-declared layman and “materialist”, Tony Cragg carries out an aesthetic-philosophical operation in which art has the task of revealing a profound physical and plastic spirituality, “as an alternative to looking at nature, and an alternative to looking at a dull-headed industrial utilitarian reality” (Tony Cragg, 2005).