Tony Cragg

British sculptor Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool in 1949. He began his education by focusing on technical studies that led him to work in a biochemistry laboratory before embarking on his art studies. He holds a BA from Wimbledon School of Art, London, UK (1973) and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, UK (1977). He has been residing in Wuppertal, Germany since 1979, and teaches at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts.   


Cragg is one of the world's most distinguished contemporary sculptors, drawing on both the natural world and industrial systems to create new forms of sculptural language. He garnered attention in the 1980s through his pioneering artistic projects, which probed the limits of materials, concepts and forms. Cragg's background in science has continually informed his work. His sculptures, diverse in their material and form, bear witness to a scientific curiosity that has driven him to test, trial and question. In his recent works, he has been pushing towards a new abstracted understanding of the figure, playing with the notion of compression and expansion in the use of totemic structures where the appearance of the human profile is often a reclusive aspect of the overall structure. 


Cragg has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Order of Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia (2018); the Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, The International Sculpture Center (2017); the Barnett Newman Foundation Award (2016); the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, (CBE) (2016); the Rheinischer Kulturpreis, Sparkassen Kulturstiftung, Rhineland (2013); the Cologne Fine Art Award (2012); the prestigious Praemium Imperiale Award, Tokyo (2007). He represented Britain at the 43rd Venice Biennale in 1988, and the same year was awarded the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery, London. There have been many important solo-exhibitions of Cragg's work worldwide, most recently at: Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy (2019); MUDAM Luxembourg (2017); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2017); Museo Nacional Havanna, Cuba (2017); Von der Heydt, Wuppertal, Germany (2016);  Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (2016); Benaki Museum, Athens (2015); Madison Square Park, New York (2014); Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan (2014); Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany (2013); CAFA Art Museum, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (2012); The Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2011); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2011); and the Musée du Louvre, Paris (2011).

Photo © Alexia Antsakli Vardinoyanni