Grand Peregrine

2009
Indian granite
400 x 130 x 130 cm
Edition of 1

Stephen Cox’s work plumbs the depths of history through his use of traditional materials and sculptural techniques. Carved from a single piece of Indian granite and weighing fifteen tonnes Grand Peregrine is evidence of Cox’s preoccupation with carving in stone and his long–standing interest in Indian sculpture. Cox established a studio in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, in the eighties, where local craftsmen worked to ‘rough out’ his works in Indian granite. These craftsman called upon ancient sculptural traditions, handed down from generations of previous stone carvers, which Cox then appropriated to create works that are often as much about the process of making sculpture as they are about the context or inspiration behind the work. Cox’s work can be characterised by his tendency to leave works seemingly incomplete, drawing attention to the tension between creation and completion. Many works juxtapose highly polished surfaces with rough–hewn finishes, to draw attention to the collective nature of Indian stone carving, its techniques and history. Cox’s fascination with Indian culture is made all the more explicit during Grand Peregrine’s annual, ritualistic anointmeny, whereby his works take on a spiritual and formal function.

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About The Artist

Stephen Cox is perhaps best known for his monolithic sculptures and has worked prolifically in Italy, India and Egypt, implementing native materials to create contemporary formal works that echo with historical and cultural connotations.

Stephen Cox’s work is widely influenced by other cultures. Rooted in Classicism, his early sculptures are related to architecture and archaic fragments and were realised in stone from Italian quarries. In 1986, Cox represented Britain at the Sixth Indian Triennale in New Delhi. He went to Mahabalipuram—a centre for traditional Hindu carving, to make sculpture for the exhibition, and since that time has maintained a studio there. The carvings he made in granite from the ancient quarries of nearby Kanchipuram had a great bearing on his work over the next decade.

In 1988, he was commissioned to carve sculpture for the new Cairo Opera House, Egypt, and was allowed to quarry Imperial porphyry at Mons Porphyrytes in the Eastern Desert, which had not been used since the end of the Roman Empire. This led to new developments in his imagery, such as references to the human torso. In varying his treatment of the rich red and green stones, Cox developed his sculpture towards a more abstract state. In 1993, he completed a commission for the parish church of St Paul, Harringay, using Italian and Egyptian stones. His most recent work in Egypt was centred on the Kephren quarries in the Western Desert of southern Egypt.

‘Grand Peregrine’ is currently on display

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Visiting Information

Stephen Cox

Born: 1946

Other Artworks by Stephen Cox at CASS

2005

Lingam of a Thousand Lingams

The way in which the subject of sex and gender is addressed in religion interests Cox and Lingam of a Thousand Lingams i…

2009

Peregrine

Like its larger sculptural counterpart Grand Peregrine, this sculpture casts a slender and imposing shadow across the fo…

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