Exhibition News

Robert Klippel - a tribute exhibition to Australia’s greatest sculptor at the AGNSW.

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Published Thursday, 1 August 2002

When Robert Klippel died in Sydney on his 81st birthday on 19 June last year, the next day’s headlines acclaimed his artistic achievements – ‘Australia’s greatest sculptor’, ‘a sculptor with iconic status’. As early as the 1960s, Robert Hughes was claiming Klippel as an outstanding figure of Australian art and one of few sculptors worthy of international attention.
At the Art Gallery of New South Wales from Friday 9 August to Sunday 13 October 2002


This is the first full-scale retrospective exhibition of Australia's most acclaimed sculptor, Robert Klippel (1920-2001.

Comprising more than 250 pieces, the exhibition encompasses Klippel's development from figurative sculpture into abstraction; from Surrealist wood carvings to the extraordinary junk assemblages of the 1960s and 1990s. The diversity of junk materials in Klippel's art - wood, stone, plastic toy kits, wooden pattern parts, typewriter machinery, industrial piping and machine parts - as well as bronze, silver, oils, photography, collage and paper; and the great range in scale of his work, from intimate whimsical structures in metal to the large wooden assemblages of the 1980s, are all incorporated in the exhibition.

Robert Klippel was a fossicker, and his waterfront home in Balmain a cornucopia of industrial discards. These he pondered and re-assembled into some of the most exciting works of art ever produced in this country. He created an amazing number of collages and works on paper, more than 5,000 - outlines and inspirations for his sculpture far too many to ever be realised into sculptures, but wonderful pictorial studies in their own right.

"Robert Klippel's particular vision, inspired by the intricacies and the profusion of our natural and man-made environments and by his quest for a spiritually relevant form, stands alone in the history of Australian art," said curator of this tribute exhibition, Deborah Edwards.

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