21
Nov
08

Exhibition: ‘Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008’ at Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia

Exhibition dates: 7th August – 2nd November 2008

 

klippel-a

 

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition installation from the first space

 

‘Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008’ exhibition sculpture and installation from the first space

 

 

A magical exhibition of the work of the Australian sculptor Robert Klippel (1920-2001) is presented together with a soundscape to accompany the works by his son Andrew Klippel. The exhibition presents two distinct rooms of light and shade and finishes with a singular monumental bronze work No. 709, but it is the two rooms that astound. They contain small assemblages and bronze sculpture made in the 1980s-1990s.

In the first space lit glass cases hover in darkness, containing delicate constructions of found objects, beautifully crafted. Made of plastic and metal, some parts taken from modelling kits, the sculptures morph and weave a delicate narrative, a powerful artistic vision. Mostly totemic in nature they transport the viewer with wonder and delight, the artists vision fully realised: no unnecessary flourishes, no wasted energy on forms that are redundant.

Wandering from the first darkened space we face a curved wall of black with a bright white opening, almost like the mouth of a Nautilus shell. Upon entering we are enveloped in white – walls, floor, stretched acrylic ceiling and stands upon which glass cases sit all being pure white. It is like stepping into the spacecraft from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey – quite disorientating but transformational. In the cases sit small very dark bronze sculptures contrasting with the white. Again mostly totemic in nature the sculptures have great power and presence. Some portray small cities on top of hills. Others intricate machine and figure like constructions. All of the cases are mounted at different eye levels, unlike the first room.

When looking across the gallery space, the boxes and sculpture within create a diorama, almost a tableaux vivant, where you can move the focus of your gaze from foreground to mid to background, all suspended in white. If you can be in this space alone with the work and wander around soaking in the vision of this artist so much the better. The contrast and parallels between the two rooms is striking – here is an artist at the height of his powers commanding his materials and his vision in two distinct bodies of work: one delicate, found, plastic the other solid, dark and essential, both dealing with the essence of human creativity and being, leaving the viewer with a sensory experience long remembered.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

Opus 2008' exhibition entrance to the second space

 

‘Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008’ exhibition entrance to the second space

 

 

Robert Klippel is regarded as Australia’s most important sculptor of the post-war 20th century period. Known for his abstract assemblages created from found objects he is a distinguished figure in the history of Australian art. Andrew Klippel, Robert’s son, is a composer and musician who has achieved international recognition as a solo musician, songwriter and influential music producer.

Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008 is a unique and compelling sensory experience which presents a group of Robert Klippel’s small-scale sculptures that were produced during the 1980s and 1990s – some of these have never been publicly displayed. It also includes the monumental bronze work No. 709. Andrew has arranged for this work, which Robert was preparing to cast at the time of his death, to be executed for the National Gallery of Victoria and included in the exhibition. And, in an important artistic response, Andrew Klippel has created a soundscape – a meditation on his father’s work.

Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008 is an extraordinary and immersive exhibition that celebrates the creative process.

Text from the National Gallery of Victoria website

 

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

Robert Klippel 'Opus 2008' exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

 

Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008 exhibition bronze sculptures from the second space

 

Robert Klippel (Australian, 1920-2001) 'No. 879 (No. 1126)' 1995

 

Robert Klippel (Australian, 1920-2001)
No. 879 (No. 1126)
1995
Metal, enamel paint
9.5 x 13.3. x 4.2 cm
Private collection, Sydney
© Andrew Klippel

 

Robert Klippel (Australian, 1920-2001) 'No. 881' c.1990 'No title (No. 1326)' c.1990 and works from the series 'No title (No. 1232)' 1980

 

Robert Klippel (Australian, 1920-2001)
No. 881
c.1990
No title (No. 1326)
c.1990
and works from the series
No title (No. 1232)
1980
Private collection, Sydney
© Andrew Klippel

 

Robert Klippel (Australian, 1920-2001) 'No. 709' 1988

 

Robert Klippel (Australian, 1920-2001)
No. 709
1988; 2008 {cast}
Bronze
318.9 x 94.8 x 100.2 cm
Artist’s proof
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with the assistance of Andrew Klippel and the Estate of Patrick Byrne, 2008
© Andrew Klippel

 

 

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Federation Square
Corner of Russell and 
Flinders Streets, Melbourne

Opening hours:
10am – 5pm
Closed Mondays

National Gallery of Victoria website

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1 Response to “Exhibition: ‘Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008’ at Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia”


  1. 1 SaltySea
    October 24, 2011 at 11:39 am

    For some reason my reader popped this up today as a new post – serendipitous perhaps as I had forgotten all about this wonderful exhibition. It completely blew me away at the time. That second room! So thanks Marcus and the google-reader-gremlin for bringing it back to me. Also kudos to the exhibition designer and curator, a spectacular job that really pushed the boundaries in my experience of what a sculpture exhibition can look like.


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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