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Title

Tony Cragg, Ordovician Pore (1989)

Author

Walker Art Center

Date

1998

Institution Walker Art Center
British artist Tony Cragg was trained as a scientist and often derives his sculptures from geological forms, molecular structures, and the human vascular system in addition to man-made forms, such as food and chemical containers. He believes that understanding these structures can help us clarify our relationship to the material world. In Ordovician Pore Cragg combines five elements to suggest the connections between the artificial and natural worlds. The two hollow steel cylinders, whose shape, smooth surfaces, and symmetrical placement suggest that they belong to the world of man-made objects, are complemented by a pair of organic (biomorphic) podlike forms, also made from steel, positioned together on the granite base.

The title of the sculpture refers to the Ordovician Period, a geological era generally thought to have begun about 500,000,000 years ago. It was during this time that oxygen entered the atmosphere, allowing terrestrial life to evolve. Cragg likens the two organic forms to fossils while the cylindrical shapes resemble the cooling towers of nuclear power plants. The artist is perhaps suggesting that there is a relationship between the evolution of primitive life forms and the rise of technology in modern times.

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Type: Commentary, curriculum resource
Source: Text for Tony Cragg, Ordovician Pore (1989), from the curriculum guide The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: A Garden for All Seasons, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1998.
Rights: Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009