‘Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008’ exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria (Federation Square)


A magical exhibition of the work of the deceased 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 first two room that astound. These contain small assemblages and bronze sculpture made in the 1980s – 1990s.





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



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 modeling 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 realized: no unnecessary flourishes, no wasted energy on forms that are redundant.


Opus 2008' exhibition entrance to the second space


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


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.



Opus 2008' exhibition sculptures in the second space


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


Opus 2008' exhibition installation view of the second space


‘Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008’ exhibition installation view of the second space



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.

The exhibition finishes on 2nd November 2008.



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

Back to top

1 Response to “‘Klippel/Klippel: Opus 2008’ exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria (Federation Square)”

  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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Études’ 1994

Join 2,351 other followers

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

Recent Posts

Lastest tweets

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.

November 2008
    Dec »



%d bloggers like this: