Possible answers to the questions we asked Mr Cragg

Apr 02, 12 Possible answers to the questions we asked Mr Cragg







Here we looked together at the sculpture Secretion (Urge) 2000 by Anthony Cragg. At the end of the article a list of questions was written. Unfortunately I am still unable to show you any official answer. That is why I decided on a temporary solution. I gathered possible answers to our questions from the publications of Anthony Cragg. The result of which is that I cannot guarantee that the answers are really true. I also couldn’t find possible answers to all the questions.

The publications, I refer to, are to be found on his homepage under the title Publications and they were withdrawn on March 21, 2012.
http://www.tony-cragg.com/texte/Tony Cragg – Voraussetzungen.pdf
(published in: Tony Cragg, Ausst. Kat., Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover 1985)

(It is not clear when it was written and why: essay, lecture, text for a catalogue or book?)

I proceed in the following way: firstly I write the question in italics, secondly there it comes the link of the publication, which I refer to. After that I write in quotation marks the special statement from the article and at the end I write my comment.

Question 3:
How was it produced? Who built it (the artist by himself, commissioned work, …)? How many people were involved and what did they make?


“Sculptures are created in the studio using different techniques based on ideas, feelings, emotions, moods and gestures – a mixture of method and insanity. I must confess that I have never been able to say for sure who is in charge – me or the sculpture.”

If the sculpture is in charge, its creation is a constant, fluid process. At the beginning of the creation the artist doesn’t know yet the final shape of the sculpture. The artist has to be in constant contact with the sculpture, his work is a continual process. Only in this way the sculpture can come into being. However it is still possible that the artist doesn’t produce the sculpture himself, but gives only instructions or that he makes only parts of the sculpture himself. Anyway it is sure that he doesn’t commission a firm to make the sculpture corresponding to his draft and collect it when it is finished.
Question 6:
Why is the surface made of dice? Why not of something else (wood, fabric, M&Ms, …)?

http://www.tony-cragg.com/texte/Tony Cragg – Voraussetzungen.pdf

“The materials play a considerable part in the designing of the work, because of their physical qualities and the feelings and ideas which they may conjure. When using materials produced by humans we have to keep in mind that they also communicate very specific meanings like the natural ones.”

This part doesn’t explain why the surface of Secretion (Urge) is made of dice, shows however that we were entitled to ask about the material. Well then: Why dice?
Question 9:
Do Secretion (Urge) 2000 and Secretions 1998 belong together? What is their connection?


““I hardly ever think about a possible connection among my works and which could be this connection.””
Question 10:
How did you get the idea of this sculpture?


““Sculptures are (…) based on ideas, feelings, emotions, moods and gestures (…) I must confess that I have never been able to say for sure who is in charge – me or the sculpture.””

Mr Cragg cannot tell us how his sculptures come into being. He doesn’t know himself.
Question 11:
What is it, what should it be, what should it arouse in the visitor?

http://www.tony-cragg.com/texte/Tony Cragg – Voraussetzungen.pdf

“My initial interest in creating paintings and objects was and it still is to give shape to objects which cannot be found in the natural or functional world. They are able to reflect and pass on information and sensations about the world and my own existence. They are not to be understood as dogmatic statements, but as suggestions (…). The stimulus arises directly from my observation and the experiences provided by my environment. It results only seldom from the literature or from the cultural history. But I discern the positive influence of living at a certain moment in history.”

Well, we still don’t know what Secretion (Urge) should be and what it should evoke to us, but we know, that he thinks about the world by means of his sculptures. Thus in Secretion (Urge) we may find his views and experiences concerning the world nowadays.
But because he communicates his reflections about our world by means of his sculptures, these reflections are encrypted, and even with the best will in the world it is not possible to understand what he wants to tell us without his help. Unfortunately! His sculptures are so extremely interesting, that I would give anything to know which thoughts are concealed within.

In the same text he writes:

“The landscape changes under the influence of strong survivors who always seem to know what they want. I think that the almost alchemistical action of the artist, which is for the time being unclear and which cannot be explained either by science or by logic, offers vital and considerable information for an alternative attitude.”

Taking into consideration this statement, the answer to our question would be that we haven’t to understand his sculptures, but we have to sense them. That means that we cannot comprehend his sculptures using words. Well that’s all fine and surely it is justified, however I suspect that some artists take the easy way out when they give such answers and they fill their works with more content than it really exists.
Question 15:
Is it allowed to touch the sculpture? Are you supposed to touch it or should you simply go around it and look at it?


““(…) over and over again I feel a big disappointment when I knock a large bronze sculpture and it answers with a clay resonance.”

If Anthony Cragg knocks at somebody else’s sculptures, certainly we are also allowed to touch his sculptures.

These would be the possible answers to our questions which I could find. Unfortunately they are not very satisfactory. It would be nice to get direct answers. In case that I get them eventually, I will share them with you in this blog.

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