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Film ID  ACE143
Title  Tony Cragg
Series  Just What Is It...?
Date  1984
Director  Geoff Dunlop, John Wyver
Production Company  Illuminations
Synopsis  The work of British sculptor, Tony Cragg (b.1949), made from found waste materials.
Minutes  12 min
Full synopsis  ACE143.2 (00:00:00 - 00:12:18)
Tony Cragg laying out shards of pottery for New Stones – Newton’s Tones, a work first made in 1977. His VO saying that the objects are things he found over a period of weeks. Once he’s taken out any black and white pieces, he realised that everything else had a limited tonal range, and this in turn started him thinking about industrial colours, etc. The easiest way to lay the objects out was according to the spectrum. He’s always used found or discarded materials, but this is the first time he’s used plastic. Cragg talking about the 1970s being a difficult time for people just starting out as there was already a strong aesthetic established by artists like Carl Andre; he was pleased to be able to discover new materials that hadn’t been used so much, or to put everyday materials into new contexts. Cragg VO doesn’t want his work to have “moral meaning”. The meaning they have for him may be quite different to those they have for other people. He talks about being constantly faced with things “we don’t understand”. His work is a mixture of chance and intention. Two more sculptures. Postcard Flag (Union Jack) (1981). He recalls arriving in London at the time of “some royal event” and noticing social problems. Britain Seen From the North (1981) and other works from the same period were to do with the situation he was in. Hayward Gallery exhibit. Cragg says it’s difficult to make a series of pieces as all the materials must be found. He thinks his view of things has changed a bit, for example, now more to do with landscape. Any constraints on him come only from the materials and his response to them, and he’s not often sure how tings will turn out when he starts. He likes to go the simplest way to what he eventually perceives as being a good place to stop. Credits

Full credits  Interviewed in September 1983 in London. This material was shot for but not included in the film Just What Is It…? Camera Jeremy Stavenhagen; Sound Chris Renty; Editor Robert Hargreave; Producers Geoff Dunlop & John Wyver for Illuminations. Arts Council of Great Britain & Channel 4 Television. © 1984.
Watch segments  ACE143.2 (00:00:00 - 00:12:18)
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