Tony Cragg

Lisson Gallery | 27 Bell Street | London

Tony Cragg’s sculptures have a way of seeming either perfect or excrutiatingly fey. At a point in his career at which, under the weight of his diverse production, he threatens to repeat past gestures as facile repertoire, we wonder if the tough experimentation he is known for is a thing of the past. Isn’t this rapidly accumulating output just accentuating the patterns, preferences, and blind spots of an oeuvre that has already resolved itself and entered a late, mannerist phase?

Perhaps Cragg’s unevenness stems from a condition of excessive rehearsal in object making and a consequential denial of improvisation. This seems paradoxical, as Cragg’s failures appear to be the result of feckless improvisational drift. This rupture between material and conceptual systems supports a fairly common critical observation to the effect that Cragg’s work is metaphorically based in language—the “grammar”

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