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How sociological factors affec

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How sociological factors affec

A French philosopher and writer, Pierre Bourdieu ( Bourdieu et al.1990) claims that sociological factors such as education, family background, cultural development of an individual as well as one's belonging to a specific social class, plays a vital part in interpretation and participation in

the Arts. In order to evaluate this argument and make any logical conclusions, it must therefore be examined through evidence which in this case will be referring to an Australian artist, Robert Klippel.

'Every artist's career has a 'shape' or a development which tends to be greatly affected by sociological factors which influence the life of that artist'.(Hughes 1964: 2). Robert Klippel's career 'shape' was also a subject to formation which was promoted by factors such as education, family upbringing and background as well as the outer and inner environments which affected the life development of the artist. It is thus essential to consider these factors as they influenced and formatted Klippel's artistic vocation and career.

Robert Klippel was born in Sydney, 19 of June 1920, in a middle class family and became the

second in a family of three sons. His father had emigrated from Poland in 1904 and ran a successful business importing and distributing clothing and textiles. His mother, of English background, had been brought up in 'English fashion', educated well and expected to devote herself to marriage and the family. Klippel's father attended university where he studied

philosophy and took an Art theory course. During university years, he developed an interest in the Arts. From time to time he would visit an Art gallery or buy an expensive classical painting.Robert Klippel's, mother had a passion for classical music and would often visit the opera.

However, at that time Robert Klippel had little interest in education in the Arts and was not affected by the artistic family environment around him. Although, Klippel's parents were

educated well, Robert Klippel and his brothers were not encouraged to learn or participate in the arts as Klippel's parents thought that their children should go 'their own ways', it could even be said that they were brought up by the 'a light hand'- always given opportunities to make their own choices and decisions in life. When referring back to Bourdieu and his argument, it could be argued that even though Klippel's parents were educated well and may have had a reasonable understanding of the arts, they would not be one 'of refined classification' and certainly would 'lack a mastered degree of

artistic competence'(Bourdieu et al.1990:42) as they could not fully value the importance of education and pass on to their children. However this idea may not apply in this case, as Robert Klippel himself was not affected by his family's level of education and from the yearly years led an independent lifestyle. Particularly during his youth, Klippel had little interest in any sort of education and with little direction from his parents, he preferred to work on the mill, spent little time doing his school work and became used to fail many examinations. At one time, Klippel even thought that his life was doomed to be a 'failure'. Klippel's family was quite financially stable and all the three sons attended secondary school including Klippel himself, who had a careless approach towards education and found that it was

not for him. In fact he did not receive any art education or learn much of what he later became interested in. He describes his school years being: 'uneventful and a waste of time'(Gleeson 1983 :4). However it was during his early schoo years that Klipple developed a passion for sculpture. Robert Klippel's early life was mostly spent around Sydney Harbour where lived and first became fascinated with ships and boat models. As a young boy, Klippel began making

miniature model ships that he often saw on the harbour or in books. An obsessive commitment to model making lasted almost eighteen years which later led to becoming a sculptor. Klippel entered the navy during WWII, where he obtained a job as a model maker. Between 1943 and 1945 he produced many military vessels and aircraft models. The skills developed during this

period were vital for Klippel as a sculptor; 'he gained knowledge of volume, mass, proportion and structural detail'(Scarlett 1980: 9). Above all, he acquired a strong desire to find out how things worked which further helped him with his creative process. Klippel obtained some practical skills to be used in his artworks but when referring back to Bourdieu, he had no knowledge of 'artistic principles' or understanding of theoretical Arts and thus had no 'means of

appropriating works of art'. This also reflected that Klippel had a lack of artistic ideas and

inspirations to produce his works although he had a strong desire to make sculptures.

'At twenty-four Klippel was still largely unconcerned with the difference between art and craft:

he simply did not care about it and had never visited a gallery'(Hughes 1964:12) Klippel was not

exposed to any higher education and he finished high-school with poor grades as he spent most

of the time working with wool. He took a wool classing course in 1937 with the support of his

father who thought that Klippel would be working with wool as he did not see any other

opportunities for his son. However, Klippel himself decided to no longer work with wool and to

devote more time to his sculptures as he discovered his passion for Art. The year of 1943 became

a turning point for Klippel, as he met a friend Pam Broad, who was a poet and an intellectual,

and encouraged Klippel to take up a wood-carving course which taught him how to develop his

own designs and models. Pam Broad was appreciative of Klippel's skill but criticised his lack

of originality and knowledge of art. Klippel realised that in order to become a sculptor he would

need to have certain knowledge of the Arts and Pam Broad introduced him to literature, poetry

and art as abstract, which Klippel became later involved in. Robert Klippel gradually began to

gain artistic appreciation and knowledge of Art and he also found the critical difference between

art and craft. Klippel realised that he could now interpret and produce artworks and meanings in

ways that before were unknown to him and as Bourdieu states: 'interpretation... is always

constituted by the learning ability other words discovering meaning using our literary

knowledge' (Bourdieu et al.1990).

Klippel put aside his models and began to read and study art books to gain knowledge about art.

Pam Broad introduced him to the work of Brzeska, and he read books on Henry Moore and

Roger Fly; 'The intellectual discovery of art as a creative pursuit awakened a passion he hardly

knew existed'(Watters Gallery 1970:3). By 1945 Klippel has decided that art would be his

vocation and that he would become a sculptor. In 1946 he enrolled full time at the East Sydney

Technical College to study antique drawing, life modelling and sculpture. During this time

Klippel became inspired by nature which became a source of ideas for the sculptor and he noted

in his diary that: 'Thinking a lot about nature and its workings, I believe and artist should, when

creating, undergo a similar process which occurs when nature creates'(Gleeson1983:4).

Although not having received 'complete' education, Robert Klippel was able to use his skills to

produce his models and he found that the knowledge he received himself and with ...

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