Tony Cragg Sculpture Park

The third and last post from the Australian Art Blog goes to Europe trilogy is here! This time we went to Wuppertal in Northern Germany to visit the Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden. Tony Cragg, a British sculptor living in Wuppertal since the late 1970’s founded and established this Sculpture Park which was opened in 2008.  It is set on sloping grounds of about 30 acres.  The following is a small selection of my personal favourites and more information on Tony Cragg’s artworks can be found here

by Tony Cragg
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Formulation (stance) 2000 by Tony Cragg

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Tony Cragg ‘Early Form St. Gallen’ 1997 Bronze
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Tony Cragg ‘Discussion’ 2005
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by Tony Cragg
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Distant Cousin by Tony Cragg
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by Tony Cragg

As well as a permanent collection of Tony Cragg’s own works there are  sculptures by Richard Deacon, Thomas Schütte, a realistic covered motorbike sitting outside the cafe by Jonathan Monk and a rather anxious yet humour oversized figure struggling inside a jumper by the Belgian artist Erwin Wurm.

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Richard Deacon’s stainless steel sculpture titled ‘Aramis’ 2007
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Covered Motorbike, 2013 by Jonathan Monk
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Big Psycho 10, 2010 by Erwin Wurm. Bronze

There are also beautiful exhibition buildings to house the changing exhibitions of international artists work. On my visit there was artwork exhibited by Ichwan Noor in a glass walled vaulted ceiling space and an exhibiton of Imi Noebel’s work.

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Beetle Sphere by Ichwan Noor

Ichwan Noor is a Yogyakarta-based artist renowned for his large-scale sculptures of hybrid human, animal and technological forms. His Beetle Sphere features the 1953 Volkswagen Beetle (or ‘People’s Car’) reimagined as a sphere and is comprised of authentic and fabricated components. To avoid the damage involved in reshaping a real car, Noor carved a spherical polyurethane replica of the vehicle’s body and then cast it in aluminium. A separate spherical interior was produced and fit to the cast exterior. The resulting sculpture is augmented with original car parts by the manufacturer to complete the illusion. This work was exhibited in the foyer of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) last year and an interview with the artist by Serena Bentley can be found by clicking here

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Minimalist work by Imi Knobel

Imi Knoebel (born 1940) is a German artist who lives and works in Dusseldorf.  Knoebel is known for his minimalist and abstract artworks that explore the relationship between space, picture support and color. The “Messerschnitt” or “knife cuts,” are a recurring technique he employs, along with his regular use of the primary colors, red, yellow and blue. A student of Joseph Beuys, Knoebel began in the late 1960’s creating his first major work, an installation with a variety of geometrical objects called Raum 19, comprising seventy-seven components made from wood and untreated Masonite (this work was on display at the time of my visit). From the mid-1970s on, Knoebel then turned towards a gestural use of color on layered plywood boards or metal plates.

Of course no sculpture park is complete without a Henry Moore and this one is no exception. Draped seated lady in bronze sits proudly outside the Waldfrieden villa on the lawn which is used for open air performance in the summer months.

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Henry Moore ‘Draped Seated Woman’ 1957-1958 Bronze

For more information on the Sculpturenpark Waldfrieden go to





The Kröller-Müller Museum, Netherlands

Kroller Muller entrance_450x600This is the second post from Australian Art Blog after a recent trip to Europe to research public art and sculpture parks. The Kroller-Muller, a private museum set in the Hoge Veluwe National Park, has one of the largest sculpture gardens in Europe with over 160 sculptures set within 25 hectares of stunning natural surrounds. Sculptural works by iconic artists are here, everyone from Sol Lewitt to  Jean Dubuffet, from Henry Moore to contempoary artist Pierre Huyghe. The entry price is quite hefty at Euro 18.60 (Aus$29) so I recommend to make a day of it and get there early. The National Park is beautiful and there are free white bicycles at the entrance to make it an enjoyable and easy  way to explore.

Of note was the Jean Dubuffet  work  ‘Jardin d’émail‘ from 1974 which is currently in the process of being conserved. A special viewing platform (a small scaffold) has been constructed for viewing the work being done. On my visit the not so glamorous work of site specific sculptural restoration and conservation work could been seen as two restorers worked tirelessly in the rain, carefully removing the old paint layer where the lines of this landscape had been mapped out, and infilling cracks in the outer wall.

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Conservation is in progress of Jean Dubuffet’s ‘Jardin d’email’ from 1974
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Conservation is in progress of Jean Dubuffet’s ‘Jardin d’email’ from 1974

Also of note was the installation stairway of 200 steps rising to 87 metres in height. This work titled ‘Look Out Attention’ is by the artist Krijn Giezen (1939-2011). The artist designed this stairway made of hardwood and concrete as an ‘unconventional walk through the woods’ which rises to above the tree level.

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Look Out Attention by Krijn Giezen

Unfortunately this work has been majorly compromised due to safety restrictions imposed on the museum. Steel balustrades and handrails have been added to mitigate against falls.For another take on sculpture and installation a visit to  French artist Pierre Huyghe’s living system ‘la Saison des Fêtes’ is recommended. A short walk through barren hills of sand leads you to an island containing many different plants and a palm tree all of which have been carefully selected as being related to celebrations around the world. This artwork will grow naturally as a living system so it will be an interesting one to revisit in a few years to see what changes have taken place. Also it left me pondering the role of conservation in a work like this which is akin to other land artworks such as Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty.

And of course a visit to some personal favourites of mine by Sol Lewitt,  Dan Graham and the British godfather of sculpture Henry Moore completed a perfect day out in Nature.


Australian Art Blog goes to Europe…

Last month Australian Art Blog went to Europe and visited some wonderful outdoor sculpture parks in Germany and Holland.  Sculpture parks are a wonderful way to get out of the gallery and combine a great day out in nature with some thought provoking artworks. Over the next few posts I will share the highlights here…

Anthony Gormley's "Exposure" in Lelystad
Anthony Gormley’s sculpture titled Exposure (locally nicknamed ‘the shitting man’!). 25 metres tall and weighs 60 tonnes. Fabricated by a Scotish pylon manufacturer and installed atop a dyke 1km from the shore of Lelystad.

This monumental sculpture by British Artist Anthony Gormley is situated in Lelystad, the capital of the province Flevoland in the Netherlands. Lelystad was built on reclaimed land in 1967 and is approximately 3 metres below sea level. The sculpture was formally unveiled in September 2010.

The artist on his sculpture says “My concept of how sculpture works in the landscape is that it is a still point in a moving world. The whole idea of EXPOSURE is that this work, made at a particular time, rooted to ground, reacts over time to the changing environment. One of the known environmental changes that is happening is the rising of the sea level through global warming. It is critical to me that at the time of its making this work reacts with the viewer, the walking viewer, on the top of the polder and that the surface that the viewer stands on is the surface that the work stands on. The work cannot have a plinth. Over time, should the rising of the sea level mean that there has to be a rising of the dike, this means that there should be a progressive burying of the work.”

The associations between the pylons and connectivity, energy cannot be missed. Each piece of metal is necessary for the structural integrity of the work and the elements meet at particular nodal points roughly corresponding to the chakras or energy points in Hindu thought.

“It is a re-examination of the body as an energy system, rather than as a system of bone, muscle and skin,” says Gormley, and it is actually his own body that was cast in this crouching position in the first stage to get the form which was then digitized.

Visiting the artwork takes a bit of time. Seen from a distance at first, you cannot really perceive how big this work is. It gradually gets bigger as you approach along the narrow pathway until you find yourself standing under the sculpture and barely reaching up to his ankle!





Lyndal Hargrave

Arabesque, wood, acrylic, screws and glue. –                          200 x 360 x 10cm

Lyndal Hargrave (born 1959) is an Australian Artist working in Redland Bay, Queensland. She is represented by the Edwina Corlette Gallery in Brisbane.

In her own words “I have long been fascinated by the underlying order of things, the sense of a pattern that lies beneath the chaos of life, and a belief that everything is somehow connected within that pattern.Geometry  introduced itself into my art when I began to build  structures into my paintings. With no preconceived plan, these constructs grew and grew. An insightful mentor predicted I would become a sculptor long before I started building 3D objects. She could see how the forms in paint would demand to be freed from the canvas. Repetition of form with slight variations is evident in my sculptures and is a reflection on the building blocks in nature—the hexagons of beehives, the prisms of crystals….My latest work explores 3D illusions and is predominantly made from multiple cubes. Amongst the precision of the geometry is the entropy of the natural materials, patina of copper, scratches in timber. I love exploiting and working with the materials and the methodical nature of the hand sawing, sanding and finishing is somewhat meditative.I seek elegant solutions to complex inquiries about the universal geometry that shapes our universe.”

Oil on canvas

Garry Duncan


All Rise – Oil on Belgian Linen  – 122cm x 152cm

Garry Duncan is an active conservationist and artist working from his property on the Murray River. He paints and sculpts, has held numerous solo exhibitions and been involved in corporate commissions and is well known for capturing the Australian Landscape. He has also illustrated two children’s books highlighting conservation and heritage issues.

Garry Duncan produces limited edition Canvas Print series. Each canvas print scene has been especially chosen by Garry from one his large original paintings. These are then presented on first grade poly cotton canvas and are sprayed with a UV protective coating to prevent fading.

Peter Smets


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Going to work – 2009 oil on canvas 50 x 60cm

Peter Smets was born in 1962 The Netherlands and has been exhibiting in Australia for the past 30 years. Smets has been a finalist in several important art prizes including The Wynne Prize, AGNSW, 2009; The Sulman Prize, AGNSW, 2009; Prometheus Visual Art Award, Gold Coast, 2009 & 2007; Tattersall’s Club Landscape Prize, Brisbane, 2008, 2007, 2005 & 2004; Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, 2006 and the Conrad Jupiter Art Award, 2004 & 2003.

Peter Smets’ work operates as both narrative and strategy.  He meticulously reconstructs his source material to create works of astounding realism. The powerful impact of the final images owes as much to his profound understanding of formal composition as to his ‘in field’ sketches and photographs.

Intriguing juxtapositions between the natural and the man-made give ‘edge’ with surreal undertones. The pictures are essentially still and a curious serenity prevails. They may well be about the activity of building, but all work has halted.


William Robinson


William Robinson was born in Brisbane in 1936 and held his first exhibition in 1967. He rose to international prominence as a part of the exhibitions Australian Perspectiva in 1983 and The Sixth Bienniale ofSydney in 1986.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has several of his works in their collection, as does the National Gallery of Australia and several smaller Australian galleries.

He has won the Archibald Prize for portraiture twice: first in 1987 for Equestrian self portrait, then in 1995 for Self-portrait with stunned mullet. He has also won theWynne Prize for landscape painting in 1990 (The rainforest) and 1996 (Creation landscape – earth and sea).

Robinson released a solo exhibition, Landscapes, which consisted of oil paintings which showed fragments of the Australian bush in various perspectives.

In 2009 Robinson was the subject of a documentary by filmmaker Catherine Hunter. “William Robinson: A Painter’s Journey” traces the places that have inspired the artist, from his early farmyard paintings to the majestic Creation Landscape series and most recently, the quiet still life paintings drawn from the intimate surrounds of his Brisbane house and garden.

Links with Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

With more than 165 artworks, QUT possesses the largest public collection of Robinson’s work in the world. Holdings include paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings and ceramics spanning the period from the mid-1960s to 2013. These works trace the major developments in Robinson’s art through the genres that have dominated his mature output: the interior, farmyard, landscape, seascape and self-portraiture.

The William Robinson Gallery at QUT presents a curated program of exhibitions of the artist’s work drawn from the QUT Art Collection, augmented by works borrowed from Australian public and private collections. Since opening in 2009, the Gallery has presented eight exhibitions, including the largest survey of Robinson’s work to date, The transfigured landscape. Held in 2011, and presented across QUT’s premier visual art institutions, the William Robinson Gallery and QUT Art Museum, this exhibition coincided with the artist’s 75th birthday, and brought together key works from Robinson’s oeuvre, drawn from public and private collections including an unparalleled selection of the artist’s critically acclaimed Creation series. A major publication was also produced to coincide with the exhibition and was the first book-length publication on the artist’s work to be produced since 2001.

Other notable exhibitions include Inspirations, guest-curated by The Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO, and Insights, guest-curated by celebrated art historian Betty Churcher AO, author David Malouf AO FAHA, and artist Davida Allen.


QUT has produced two short films about the artist’s work. The first, William Robinson: A painter’s journey, traces the places that have inspired the artist. The second,Inspirations, was produced in 2015 on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name, and celebrates the connections Robinson has woven between himself, his subjects, and his students.

Conservation Research Project

In 2014, QUT began a collaborative research conservation project with the Queensland Art Gallery that seeks to identify the painting materials and methods used by William Robinson over the 45-year span of his artistic practice. The outcome of the project is to develop best practice guidelines for the conservation and collection management of his paintings.

Ridge and gully in the afternoon light, 1992.