Australia, United States of America
19 Jun 1920 - 19 Jun 2001
Robert Klippel's singular vision, inspired by the intricacies and profusion of our natural and built environments and by his quest for a spiritually relevant form, stands alone in the history of Australian art. Spanning six decades of practice, his oeuvre forms an extremely diverse yet coherent whole, characterised by the artist's extraordinary inventiveness in the spatial disposition of his forms.
During the late 1980s, Klippel returned to working in wood - a material he had not used since the 1940s, resulting in another extraordinary output of over 150 assemblages mainly made from geometric wooden pattern-parts for obsolete machinery. These works represent a dramatic shift in Klippel's practice, creating assemblages of a 'monumental' size previously unseen in his work. Klippel retained in these large sculptures the same mastery and inventiveness which he had brought to his junk and bronze works and the same will to articulate sculptural forms through dynamic inter-relationship of mass, weight, volume and space.
With an emphasis on the rhythmic structure of interlocking volumes, 'No 796' manifests Klippel's commanding system of composing disparate elements into a balanced whole. While created out of the weighted geometry of block pattern forms, Klippel configures these parts to suggest an organic movement, activating a monumental tumbling energy in these mechanised structures.
The poetic transfiguration of forms enforces Klippel's enduring quest throughout his career to produce statements of machine-organic energies, or in the artist's own words "to seek the inter-relationship between the cogwheel and the bud".
166.0 x 74.0 x 56.0 cm
Signature & date
Signed and dated verso, red pencil "RK. ... 89".
Gift of Danny and Lisa Goldberg 2013. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Not on display
© Estate of Robert Klippel
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Robert Klippel: master sculptor, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Surfers Paradise, 05 Sep 1990–07 Oct 1990
Robert Klippel: painted wood sculptures at three locations, Watters Gallery, East Sydney, 14 Nov 1990–01 Dec 1990
Robert Klippel: large wooden sculptures and collages, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Jun 1995–13 Aug 1995
Art of parts: collage and assemblage from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Sep 2016–13 Nov 2016
Referenced in 2 publications
Helen Campbell, Look, 'Stuck on you', pg. 16-19, Sydney, Sep 2016, 16.
Deborah Edwards and Edmund Capon, Robert Klippel: large wood sculptures and collages, Sydney, 1995, 22 (illus.), 23.