Tony Cragg

Whitechapel Gallery

Tony Cragg occupies a somewhat paradoxical position. While many consider him the finest English sculptor of his generation—and his work looms large in survey shows of British sculpture—he has lived since 1977 in the German industrial town of Wuppertal. Yet since his move to Germany he has never really lost sight of Britain. In many respects, his distance from Britain has enabled him to put it into perspective. His best-known early work, the wall relief Britain Seen From the North, 1981, is a map of Britain laid on its side, made from brightly colored detritus, with a separate flanking figure, also formed of detritus, looking toward the map from the north. At the time this piece was made, it was widely seen as a critique of the Thatcherite policies that were laying waste to Britain’s industrial heartland. Even in 1987, ten years after his emigration, Cragg was inspired to make a huge wall

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