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Robert Klippel was a pioneer in Australian sculpture, adhering to a remarkably coherent vision of form throughout his long career. Klippel was a relentless fossicker, liberating industrial metal, plastics, junk and timber from their graves, and imbuing them with a new life in his complex and beautiful assemblages. For Klippel, these parts had a life of their own. "I could imagine the parts growing up like plants." he said in 1978; "That's why I wouldn't be happy with horizontal things." (R. Klippel in D. Edwards, Robert Klippel, Sydney, 2002, p.90).
The renaissance of machinery parts was not the ultimate aim for Klippel: rather, they were the manifestation of an intensely personal quest for spiritual understanding and a drive towards exploration. "The whole thing is this terrific exploration. This is the point that Eliot makes he says old men ought to be explorers everybody ought to be explorers, exploring all the time." (R. Klippel in K. Scarlett, Australian Sculptors, Melbourne, 1980, p.331).
The use of reclaimed machinery parts and metals was a reflection of Klippel's pioneering spirit: an impulse to explore the constituent parts of the industrial world in which he lived, and a search for balance between the processes of production and the search for self. "Klippel's aspiration to an art entirely expressive of his time, orchestrated under his belief in cultural and historical specificity ('the rhythm of the times'), was a commitment to adding new artworks to the repertory of the contemporary world, and with this, to the world's traditions of sculptural production." (D. Edwards, op. cit., p.15).
J. Gleeson, Robert Klippel, Sydney, 1983, illus pl. 257, p. 338; p. 475