Tony Cragg

It was only two weeks ago but it feels like a thousand years. I walked out of the sodden night rain soaked miasma through the glass doors and was smacked in the face with the bracing cold dry air conditioning. It felt like being slapped by mechanized civilization. After catching my breath I stood as straight as I could, gathered together whatever tatters of pride I had left – like collecting strips of tissue in a gale – and looked around.

The walls of Italian Travertine never felt more cave-like, the glass planes at each end were black as a well. The wooden floor was polished to suggest a muted simulacrum of the world above. The works were arranged carefully about the space – curves alien and familiar mixed and cast by an expert hand.

I knew nothing of Tony Cragg – the artist – although he is so very well-known and famous. He has had a long and varied career with shapes and accumulations and paintings and piles of things and sketches and whatnot. His stuff was scattered all around inside and out, up and down, filling every nook and cubbyhole with some precious object.

But I was drawn by siren call to this gallery, to these monumental curves.

Tall and White. This was named Lost in Thought and it was my favorite. It looks like it is ready to start shambling across the floor. If I was a billionaire I would buy this and put it in my room so I could stick my hands inside and learn its secrets. Or maybe make it into a really big lamp.

People walked among the statues, looking up and down. I looked at the other guests. They were as interesting as the sculptures – but every bit as unreachable. Ghosts of moveable artworks. Made of meat.

My good camera was broken and the pictures are bad. It was too dark.

Some of the work had hidden faces. Some faces were not so hidden.

This one is called Mental Landscape. The label said it was made of Jesmonite. I had to look that up to see what it was.

Both of these two are called Ever After. One is made of wood and the other of bronze.

A view from earlier, from outside, looking in. The sculpture in the foreground is called Tree. It’s made of wood.