Tony Cragg (b.1949) is a British sculptor and was referred by SFMOMA as a radical materialist. Cragg’s explorations of traditional sculptural materials like bronze, glass, stone, wood and steel. Cragg sees sculptures in everything around us, our movements, our wastes and etc. Which makes him one the best sculptors of this generation. Cragg’s work of Yellow Bottle and Red Bottle strongly implies the importance of sustainable packaging.
“The world is full of man-made objects. It is about time we took a step back and started clarifying and reevaluating the objects we have to put into the world.”-Tony Cragg
Yellow Bottle and Red Bottle were created using found plastics. These plastics were painted into a specific color and were laid out into a shape of cleaning product bottles. These pieces of plastics were unwanted pieces that people have thrown out. Cragg’s intention was to showcase the unnecessary amount of materials we produce and market. As we are living in a “consumerist society” products are being produced to meet the high demands with no or little considerations of the consequences. Cragg’s choice of creating a silhouette of a dish soap bottle suggested that these wasted materials are what we encountered on a daily basis. Due to the fact that they are a part of our daily lives, we tend to overlook the choices we’ve made when purchasing these materials. The choice of having one color painted on all the pieces of found plastics can imply that despite having different designs and patterns they are all the same.
The purpose of sustainable packaging is to recycle or reuse the waste that we produced and turn it into useable materials. This prevent the problem of over producing and over disposing wastes. Conventional packaging also cause harms to our health during the production process. Instead, packaging that is produced with agricultural waste is much safer for the body and also the environment.
Tony Cragg has successfully used sculpture as a medium of expressing an issue of a “consumerist society”. Instead we have to actively seek ways to produce smarter and better packaging.
What was your reaction when you first saw Tony Cragg’s Yellow Bottle, 1982? Head to the museum to experience this art for yourself.