Not on View

Untitled (Shell)

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Untitled (Shell)

Artist: Tony Cragg (British, 1949 - 2016)
Date: 1988
Medium: cast steel
Dimensions:
Overall: 43 x 87 x 79 in. (109.2 x 221 x 200.7 cm.)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Coffin Fine Arts Trust; Nathan Emory Coffin Collection of the Des Moines Art Center, 2000.1
Accession number: 2000.1
Classification: sculpture
Copyright:ARS
Label TextTony Cragg came to sculpture through science and the process of observing things. He is inspired by the idea that nature develops by stages into culture. In Untitled (Conch Shell), the brass instrument cases tucked under the large mollusk shell reflect this thinking. A possible interpretation suggests that the instrument cases represent culture’s reproduction of nature’s case – the conch shell, which protects the primal “music” of blood flowing through body. The shell, overtaking the cases either by delivering or devouring them, suggests the philosophy that that which comes from the earth returns to it.
Cragg started making large bronze and steel sculptures in the mid-1980s. Several of the works from this period incorporate identifiable forms from nature. Cragg's early background included work in a laboratory and in a foundry. This experience, coupled with his interest in science and biology, often reveals itself in his art. In this piece a large mollusk shell rests on top of several musical instrument cases, which emerge from beneath the shell. One interpretation of this juxtaposition is to reference the "music" one hears when holding a shell to the ear. Source: NEWS May June 2000
Exhibition HistoryStedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, May 13 - July 2, 1989

"Tony Cragg: XLIII Biennale di Venezia," Organized by the British Council, June 26 - Sept. 25, 1988
entirely unexpected