Process

Openings into Sculpture

The idea behind this work is quite simple. One of the basic ideas of my sculpture is the relationship between nature and man-made objects. Here the natural landscape is very beautiful. It also has its particular material, this stone. When we look around us, we see all these stones, in the mountains and on the beach. All of them are wonderful and it is difficult to find an ugly stone, or a beautiful one – they are all good and terrible, ugly and beautiful. They just exist, and even though we sometimes notice one more than the other, there is really not that much difference. There are just plenty of them and they are wonderful. Nature just gives them.

One of the things that interests me is sculpture methods. For example, instead of using a forming process you just take a simple industrial working-process, like drilling, and apply this principle uniformly. There is something similar here to the way the weather changes things. The drilling is a kind of erosion. The process is simple yet strenuous. In this case, it is my assistant who has strained here in Bodø. At one level, you just want to see how a natural object is changed when the work is done in this manner. Yet, it is important to see these stones as the strangest stones around rather than to think whether they are ugly or beautiful in an aesthetic sense. The interest lies in seeing the influence of changing the nature here. You have to think of the different meanings that come out of the stones when they are changed in a very conscious and structured way. Most things around us are changed on the basis of industrial, economic and political decisions. Art and sculpture have a very specialized way of changing things, one that is outside these power systems.

The intention of the seven stones placed on the wall in Bodø is very direct. To everybody here, the stones are familiar on a very banal and everyday level. I thought it was interesting to see what else we could learn from these stones.. The driving force behind all of this is, of course, the fact that we are obliged to change things just for our survival. As a sculptor and artist, what I am asking for is a different kind of consciousness in changing things. We are living in a time in which terrible television, lousy architecture and bad books beset us. We are surrounded by a swamp of mediocrity. When things are changed with a special kind of concentration, be it a song, a dance, or a sculpture they should be highly regarded in our society. These creations demand a special and different kind of concentration, from makers and viwers alike.

Tony Cragg
TALKING TO MAARETTA JAUKKURI, JANUARY 1993

“The concept is to visually reinforce the harbour wall by using stones as raw material that have been penetrated, partially or wholly, by an industrial presence. The basic idea is to apply an industrial technique to a natural material in the same way that natural erosive faces produce material change. This process produces a visually beautiful object situated between the natural and the artificial. The stones have extremely complicated internal structures in addition to offering the experience of seeing the sky and the sea. The stones would also take advantage of the windy nature of their location and generate sound.”

Tony Cragg

TO MAARETTA JAUKKURI, JANUARY 1993:


"The idea behind the work is fairly simple. One of the main concepts is the relationship between nature and the man-made landscape. The natural landscape here is very beautiful. It also has a distinctive material - stone. When we look around, we see stone everywhere - in the mountains and on the beach. They are wonderful, and it is hard to find an ugly or a beautiful stone, they are all pleasant and unpleasant, beautiful and ugly. They are fairly easy to find, and even if we might prefer one stone over another, the difference is still not great. There are simply many of them and they are beautiful. They are a gift of nature.

One thing that interests me is to use a simple industrial process such as drilling, and implement this principle frequently instead of choosing a design process. It is similar to the way the elements change our surroundings. It‘s like an erosion process.

The process is simple, but difficult to implement. In this case, the work here in Bodø has been carried out by my assistant. In a way, you just want to see how a piece of nature changes when the work is done in this way. But it is important to regard these stones as the most unique stones ever found, and not to think of them as ugly or beautiful in an aesthetic sense. You are trying to see how the changing effect of nature develops. You need to think about what kind of meaning comes out of them when they are changed in such a deliberate and structured manner.

The seven stones that are placed on the breakwater in Bodø have a direct purpose. A stone here is regarded by everyone on a simple, everyday level. For me it was interesting to see what other information I could get out of them. The driving force behind this, of course, is the fact that we are forced to change things in order to survive.

As a sculptor and artist I am looking for a different kind of consciousness by changing things. We are surrounded by bad television, deplorable architecture and poor literature. We are surrounded by a sponge of mediocrity. When things are changed by a special kind of focus – be it a song, a dance or a sculpture – they should be subjected to a special type of assessment by society. These objects have demanded a great deal from their creators and thus demand a different kind of focus from the public.”