Ferryman 1997

Tony Cragg


Tony Cragg (1949) is one of Britain’s most esteemed artists. His sculpture ‘Ferryman’ seems to refer to the driver of a ferry. The black bronze statue shows a voluminous figure with bulges. In its soft design with its curves and bulges, it is reminiscent of an internal organ or of a tightly embraced person. The holes with which the statue is perforated give it a special lightness that counteracts the heaviness of the bronze material. The shape of the figure, for example, the outstretched arms or front legs, evoke different associations and make you think. At first glance, the material, design, and structure of the surface are surprising and illegible. Cragg deliberately tries to play with the viewer’s perception, who always seems to try to place the unknown among the known. Playing with contrast between mass and lightness, rigidity and movement, immobility and dynamism, is one of the most fascinating features of Tony Cragg’s sculptures. The ‘Ferryman’ sculpture, also exhibited at the Venice Biennale, impressively displays his experimental exploration of material and form. Cragg’s sculptures play with the perception of man; in his work, he tries to classify the undefined by projecting familiar shapes and patterns.