The plastic objects which make up ‘New Stones, Newton’s Tones’ were collected by Tony Cragg in a few hours in May 1978 in the area where the artist lives in Wuppertal, Germany. ‘I didn’t sort or select the materials I collected until later when black, white, silver, printed and multi-duplicating objects (like ice-cream spoons) were set aside. All remaining objects were laid out, more or less evenly distributed in a rectangular format 9’ x 12’, in an approximate sequence of Newton’s spectrum: dark red, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, dark blue, violet.’
From a distance it seems to shimmer and de-materialise like a rainbow. Spread out as it is on the floor, consisting of so many individual items, it is not a self-contained sculptural object. Its form invites comparison with floor pieces by Richard Long which are made of stones collected on walks. Cragg’s materials, however, are the product of modern technology. Their very choice, transferred and arranged for a gallery context, does more perhaps than show that discarded objects have beauty, but rather suggests that industry’s production of endless copies is not unlike nature’s manner of reproduction.