Throughout his long career, Robert Klippel remained loyal to the artistic precepts he established in his early years. Endlessly fascinated with two and three-dimensional shapes and interrelationships, Klippel developed an encyclopaedic understanding of form. This understanding was derived from the intense study of both natural and man-made objects, ranging from the structure of diatoms seen under a microscope, to the assembly of model ships Klippel had been creating since childhood.
From the mid-1950s, Klippel adopted junk metal and found objects as the vehicle for his three-dimensional analysis of form. Inspired by his association with American abstract expressionist assemblage artists Richard Stankiewicz and especially David Smith, Klippel revelled in the "unlimited potential of junk's unlimited vocabulary of forms." (D. Edwards, Robert Klippel, Sydney, 2002, p.93).
It was this 'unlimited vocabulary' that empowered Klippel to find his own aesthetic equilibrium: not the embodiment of reconciliation and balance, but "the more subtle desire to forge a new, sometimes irrational, precarious, unforseen and ultimately delicate equilibrium between his sense of a permanent order and the flux of the modern condition." (Ibid, p.17). The impetus for this study was a rationalist belief in the acquisition of knowledge of the constituent parts so as to understand the greater questions of life: "a move to grasp the particularities of nature, art and technology in order to transfigure them." (Ibid, p.32).
During the 1960s and early 1970s, Klippel embarked on an exploration of scale and fabrication method that resulted in a wide range of effects, from the finely wrought, organic shapes of Opus 266a 'Cynthia' (also W.R. Burge collection) to the soaring angularity of Opus 273a Metal Construction (1970, private collection). It is as though these earlier works paved the way for Opus 300.
The rich patination and complex, almost totemic silhouette of Opus 300 demonstrates the sophistication and sensitivity of an artist at the height of his career. James Gleeson, in his comprehensive Klippel monograph, writes of this work that "In Klippel's sequence of grand complexities it must be given a place among the foremost. Even the sloping towers of the might Opus 247 hold no concentrations of greater density or complexity, though here the solitary tower rises in persistent verticality, opening and spreading slightly at the top as though preparing to embrace space after its assertive rise through it." (J. Gleeson, Robert Klippel, Sydney, 1983, p.344).