Curated by Tony Cragg at Blain Southern London

6 November 2015 § Leave a comment

Arriving recently for a stay at the excellent Ham Yard Hotel near Piccadilly (reviewed here) I was surprised and delighted to find a spectacular new Tony Cragg sculpture ‘Group’ gracing the heart of the eponymous Yard – a mini oasis where Soho relaxes post work, and chic revellers spill out from the hotel’s stylish bar.
Tony Cragg
Dominating the space is a spectacular giant bronze from this Turner Prize winning artist. Resembling wood or stone it could – but not quite – be a  block transplanted from the Grand Canyon or a stump of weathered wood, and will be familiar to anyone who has seen Cragg’s work. Working with stone, wood, glass, stainless steel, aluminium, cast bronze/iron, and found objects, Cragg is constantly pushing to find new relations between people and the material world. His sculptures lie somewhere between plastic imagination and solid reality.
Mathias Lanfer Blain Southern
Coincidentally, I had already planned to visit Blain Southern’s airy new Hanover Square gallery nearby where Cragg is curating an exhibition that features three renowned German artists, all alumni at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf where he is a long-standing Professor.
Mathias Lanfer Blain Southern
With a predominantly industrial aesthetic, each artist has found different ways to explore the use of materials. Gereon Lepper creates kinetic sculptures that draw upon engineering, technology and physics.  In Der Apparat fast unbewegt, two electric motors controlled by a timer, provide a surge of energy to large propellers  producing a roaring inferno of sound. As the power is cut, the noise and activity subside – the work is a mechanical drama that explores energy and inertia.

Blain Southern

Drawing on his background in design, animation and computer programming, Andreas Schmitten creates sculptures and installations which he describes as ‘props from another, undetermined time’. A new sculptural light installation Prop No. 2 is characteristic of Schmitten’s work, which lies somewhere between installation, autonomous sculpture and model.

Blain Southern

Exploring contrasting ideas of weightlessness and mass with his series of ‘Heavy Air’ sculptures, Mathias Lanfer has used industrial technology and product engineering to create Dicke Luft II. A steel frame is married with a perspex dome that has been blown into soft curves – the opaque dome acting as a counterpoint to the steel block. Heavily influenced by his previous work in plastics factories, aluminium pressing plants and the car industry, Lanfer manipulates materials in order to challenge our preconceived ideas of their industrial nature.

Blain Southern

Curated by Tony Cragg is at Blain Southern until 29 August 2015. For more information visit www.blainsouthern.com

Tony Cragg is also at the Lisson Gallery Milan until 18 September 2015 For more information visit www.lissongallery.com

The Cass Sculpture Foundation

10 June 2014 § Leave a comment

I have been aware of the existence of the CASS Foundation for a number of years but had somehow not got around to visiting. The trip to the Foundation’s woodland location, deep in the heart of the Sussex countryside, always seemed like something that could wait until the next trip ‘down that way’.

CASS Sculpture Foundation

In particular I have always been rather wary of anything to do with sculpture located in rural locations where it is rather too easy to end up at a depressing collection of derivative organic forms or animal carvings.

CASS Sculpture Foundation

Nevertheless the opportunity for that particular foray in to the country arrived last week as I weaved through pretty villages and leafy country lanes and through the grand gates of CASS.

CASS Sculpture Foundation

 

Immediately it was evident that this was was not going to be a disappointing visit. Standing guard outside the gates was a delightfully over the top work by Gary Webb in pink, silver and gold whilst next to the parking area were other works by Tony Cragg and Sean Henry.

CASS Sculpture Foundation

A stroll around the winding paths of the estate revealed a series of contemporary sculpture of the highest quality. An army of Peter Burke figures in corten steel stood to attention in a clearing whilst a blancmange pink zebra entitled Doppenganger by Michael Joo gazed over the adjacent fields.

CASS Sculpture Foundation

Bill Woodrow’s 2000 piece for the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square Regardless of History has found a home here as has Eduardo Paolozzi’s London-Paris – the last work that he completed before he died.

CASS Sculpture Foundation

Other notable pieces include Cao Fei’s pink inflatable pig House of Treasures Phillip King’s Suns Roots II and Juliana Cerqueira Leite’s Climb (she also has a pavilion of her work on show).

CASS Sculpture Foundation

The organisation is actually a charitable foundation in 1992 by Wilfred and Jeannette Cass dedicated to commissioning new work from emerging and established artists. The Foundation’s 26 acre grounds are home to an ever-changing display of 80 monumental sculptures, many of which are available for sale with the proceeds going directly to artists.

CASS Sculpture Foundation

The main building has a changing exhibition – currently the excellent Gary Webb as well as a few books and a complimentary cup of tea of coffee to round off a delightful and worthwhile trip to the country.

The CASS Sculpture Foundation is open 7 days a week 10.30-4.30 through the summer

CASS, New Barn Hill, Goodwood, near Chichester  PO18 0QP. Tel (0)1243 538 449

 

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