Saturday, March 24, 2007

Robert Klippel Sculptures

In the Tank Street forecourt of the Commonwealth Law Courts are a number of sculptures by renowned Australian sculptor Robert Klippel. Klippel is well known for his abstract assemblages fashioned from scrap metal, and the collection of five pieces on display here show that all too well. They were created in the late 1980's and include the pieces numbered 661, 664, 773 804 and 807. They are representative of his work during the 1980's when he produced over 200 sculptures in that period alone. Many of his works are not identified by a name, but simply by a number, leaving the viewer to interpret what the artist is (or, for that matter, isn't) saying with the piece.

Robert Klippel was born in Sydney, Australia in 1920. He was 24 before he began night classes at art school, and he only spent one year as a full-time student before leaving for London in 1947. He also spent time in Paris, and the influence from Surrealism he received is shown in his work throughout his career. In the 1950's he moved to the U.S., including a stint teaching in Minneapolis. He returned to Australia in 1963. With a collective career spanning nearly 60 years he amassed well over 1,000 sculpted pieces, along with a huge collection of drawings on paper representing his work. He died on the died on 19th June, 2001 aged 81.

I must admit that when I viewed these works, in my ignorance I really had no idea of the significance of the sculptor. Sure, the associated plaque spoke of his eminence, but I disregarded this as mere hype. However, in reading the reviews and obituaries associated with Klippel, I'm now convinced that he truly was an outstanding figure in Australian Art. I'm incredibly proud that although many of us may not know it, we have sculpture of such international significance outside our public buildings. Artistic culture is alive and well in Brisbane.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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