Mudam, Luxemburg


The reason we make the trip south on March 9th, 2017 is that Tony Cragg will give a lecture in Mudam, Museum of modern art in Luxembourg. At the entrance I met him. "Hey, hello Tony!" We shake hands and get into a conversation about his work that I have seen in several places during this museum journey.   
We walk into the large central space. Straight shadow lines from the sunlight through the many windows are visible on the hard stone light floor. There are three stately high images; Points of View from 2015 are pillars four and a half meters high.

The Turner prize winner and I will stand at another work. An orange metal abstract image with sanded white and gray spots. Tony says that he is a bit nervous for his lecture, "I hope you will like it". Then he jokes that he and I have become sculptors because we couldn't get real work. Well, I write this story and he became director of the art academy in Düsseldorf, owns a fifteen hectare sculpture park in Wuppertal with a monumental villa and a new exhibition hall.

The Spanish Cristina Lucas has three installations. First we have to wear plastic covers around our shoes because there is white carpet on the floor. At eye level in the elongated oval room 360 small black clock hands ticking all around. If you stand in the middle you will hear the sound circulating quickly. Time.

It all becomes more clear with the video installation Philosophical Capitalism. Ten films with representatives of the different brand names are projected opposite each other. Gentlemen in tight suits or in casually unbuttoned ties sell their company philosophy convincingly. Graphs and logos alternate in a wondrous cacophony of Spanish voices.

Around the corner in a large hall there are they, Tony Cragg's abstract monumental sculptures. Colored, of polyester, a shape composed of large light green funnels, organic statues of aluminum and of bronze. The largest one is made of plywood. Four and a half meters high.

The work that leaves a lot of impression is a wooden statue in human size, Title Spring.

You get itching when you see an assembly of an old wooden rowing boat with attributes. The whole is covered with certainly thousands of hooks in different sizes. From clothes hanger format to small screw hooks. Onely yet pre-drilling all the holes must have been a job of weeks.


The conference hall is filled to capacity for Tony Cragg's lecture. Tony first starts about his childhood and that he worked in a "smelly" laboratory. His interest in the materials soon became apparent. After a long art history lesson about his examples, Tony says he is fortunate that he started as a sculptor in the late 1970s when that cover, in which just about everything had become possible, was widely accepted. Tony finds materialism too often negatively used because: “ 'matter', where it all comes from, is derived from 'mother'." He concludes by saying that art is an incredible contribution to society. Together it took more than an hour, now I understand why he was nervous about it. I walk to Tony to say goodbye, he looks relieved.
   What reminds most about the lecture is that he talked about clay that is two meters underground and the farmers who drive over it for hundreds of years: “One day you dig it out and put the lump of clay on a table in your studio. You push and punch it and go for lunch in between. In the end, when you decide it is ready, people look at it. Of ​​what once was a meaningless piece of clay, they can now get an idea, like it and even could been touched by it. That's what it's all about.”