Arts Council Collection

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Andrew Causey

Andrew Causey
Interviewed by Robert Dingle, 2009

'Nature as Material' still seems to me to represent fairly accurately a moment in British sculpture at the end of the 1970s when there was a revival of interest in nature, natural materials and landscape. It was short-lived, and while a number of artists in the exhibition have developed ideas suggested by the work shown in 'Nature as Material', the exhibition as a whole is very much of its moment. It was the moment when Richard Long represented Britain at Venice, of the opening of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and a fresh interest not just in natural materials but the use of natural materials on site, as it were - sculpture parks and trails.

I had also just got to know Andy Goldsworthy, I think through David Nash, and had bought some of Goldsworthy's early photographic works. That was an entrée of a personal kind to the subject of craft. I have always been interested in the relation of craft to art in different periods. By the time my period as a purchaser was running out, I began to find new interests, mainly through shows at Lisson, and bought the Tony Cragg.

What has this to do with 'Nature as Material'?

Little or nothing is the answer. It does have some connection with Richard Long in being flat on the ground, but it is a slim connection. I was very interested in horizontal sculpture at that stage and there was a good deal of discussion of it, questions whether it was a part of the Caro legacy etc. I remember that I intended to get something by Garth Evans whose work I admired, and I can't remember why I didn't. I stand by most of what I wrote in the catalogue, but I think there needed to be a clearer statement that Cragg's work was the start of something rather different (even if much of what I said about craft could have applied to the early work of Richard Deacon). The human reference in Cragg's work is very intense even if his work is resolutely urban compared with the others.