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The Major Artists Involved in Sculpture in the 1980s

Tony Cragg was one British sculptor of the 1980s whose name was perhaps most closely associated with the use of assemblage techniques. It has been noted that "Tony Cragg assembled his plastic toy guns, food containers, and the like, sorted them by color, and deployed them on walls and floors in figurative arrangements" (30). A representative work of this type by Cragg is Britain Seen from the North (1981). This sculptural work, which is mounted on a wall, consists of various everyday items, many of which are damaged. These objects are brightly colored and arranged on the wall in the shape of a map of Britain turned sideways, with "north" facing toward the left. To the left of this British map, there is a figure of a man, which is also made of brightly colored everyday objects. The figure of the man is turned so that it faces the map of Britain.

Two other British sculptors who were strongly influenced by assemblage art techniques were Bill Woodrow and Richard Deacon. Both of these artists "incorporated mechanical appliances, like washing machines, into their assemblages" (Simon 30). One such work by Bill Woodrow is Spin Dryer with Bicycle Frame Including Handlebars (1981). In this sculpture, the figure of a bicycle frame has been literally cut out of a spin dryer. The bicycle frame is formed by the cut out part being bent back away from the dryer and shaped accordingly. In this way, the bicycle frame and the spin dryer become two separate sculptural entities while at the same time being attached to one another.

There were various other British sculptors in the 1980s whose work depended upon the influence of assemblage. These artists created "new objects from consumer and kitsch items and from nature's or manufacture's fragments" (Higgins 119). One such sculptor was Eric Bainbridge, whose Holemasters (1987) consisted of "six towering assemblages of odd objects constructed from chicken wire and plaster-soaked scrim and...

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