Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool in 1949. He worked as a laboratory technician at the Natural Rubber Producers Research Association (1966-68) before attending Gloucestershire College of Art and Design, Cheltenham College, and the Royal College of Art, London (1973-77). Tony Cragg has lived and worked in Wuppertal, Germany, since 1977.
An artist of great international acclaim and immense energy, Cragg has developed more possibilities in the making of sculpture than any other sculptor since Henry Moore discovered the 'hole' as positive space. He has employed more materials than most, and tested them to their limits through a wide variety of means, so that he seems to be one hundred sculptors at any one time. Cragg's contribution to the debate on contemporary sculpture practice is considerable. Early works of the 1970s were mostly made with found objects through which Cragg questioned and tested possibilities. Later pieces demonstrated a shift of interest to surface quality and how that could be manipulated, and a play with unlikely juxtapositions of materials. Results vary from the exquisite to the grotesque, from the refined to the crude, in bronze, steel, plastic, rubber, glass, wood, plaster and more.
Tony Cragg was elected Royal Academician in 1994. In the summer of 1999, the forecourt of Burlington House housed an installation of his new work. These complex bronze sculptures demonstrate his mastery over form and material. A solo exhibition, A New Thing Breathing, was held at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool in spring 2000, and five monumental sculptures formed the first exhibition on the Terrace of Somerset House, London in autumn of 2001.