PRINT April 2003

’80s THEN

Tony Cragg

BARRY SCHWABSKY: When I first started seeing your work in the early to mid-’80s, it was related to the new figuration. In fact, that’s the title you gave to one of your found-plastic wall pieces from 1985. Was that maybe a misreading of what your work was about?

TONY CRAGG: One has to see it in terms of bigger movements. I was born in 1949, went into art school twenty years later, in 1969. The first art that I saw and was interested in was the art of the Conceptualists, the Minimalists, the Land artists, arte povera, Joseph Beuys. I realized that there were already people who had a certain sensibility, these ideas and formal solutions for something that I’d already started to do on my own, like tying up bits of string, and knotting it, and other sorts of practical exercises with material. I was still a student, and these were people five, ten, fifteen years older than me. In Europe this

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