Living sculptures: Tony Cragg honours Lynn Chadwick at Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden

Living sculptures: Tony Cragg honours Lynn Chadwick at Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden

As the first glimmers of summer arrive and stir a desire to get outside, the opportunity to explore art in public spaces – both literally and figuratively – renews. In this perspective, contemporary sculptor Tony Cragg, in conjunction with Blain|Southern gallery, will embrace the public’s annual proclivity for outdoor installations by transforming his Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden in Wuppertal, Germany, into an exhibition space dedicated to the lauded post-war sculptor Lynn Chadwick, from mid-July to mid-October. The retrospective, conceived and curated by Cragg himself, will focus on the British artist’s physically enthralling and dynamic sculptures of the 1950s and 60s. 

Almost immediately succeeding an exhibition at the Museo del Giardino di Boboli – Giardino Bardini in Florence – in which 24 sculptures were spread across two parks – Cragg’s show will doubtlessly maintain a similar resonance, dotting the Skulpturenpark’s verdant space with Chadwick’s looming, abstract figures.

As well as creating an inimitable atmosphere around the park, the sculptures will also provide the visiting public with a documentative body of Chadwick’s work, revealing his artistic processes and idiosyncrasies. The most obvious of these remains an ardent interest in handicraft; the small scratches, raw lines and rough surfaces seen in the iron and bronze sculptures reveal the laborious manual work involved in their creation, as well as a singular experimental inclination. 

Chadwick’s sculptures – from the modestly sized to the gargantuan – should be experienced in their tangible form, the artist explained. Merely rationalising the concept behind them is not enough. ’The intellect alone,’ he said, ’is still too clumsy to grasp it.’ Cragg’s retrospective thus presents an ideal opportunity to follow Chadwick’s sound advice. 

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