It would be unfair, and indeed foolish to try to commit Royden Rabinowitch’s philosophy of art to words in an article of this size and dimension· It is however possible to describe in outline who and what has influenced Rabinowitch over the years and to outline his ideas if even in the most basic terms.
At the opening of his exhibition, and also his European debut, Rabinowitch explained to an invited audience the meaning of his art. The guests were asked to stand against the walls of the small gallery and observe the Barrel Constructions which occupied the floor space.
Royden’s sculpture is inextricably linked with the past and the great sculptural traditions of ancient Egypt and Greece. He has followed closely the works of other sculptors such as Rodin, Picasso and, most recently, Anthony Caro and Robert Smithson.
Rabinowitch explained that up until the time of Smith, sculptors had been concerned with the development of the anthropomorphic form: constructions which deal with the representation o1 the human body. Rabinowitch has, however, moved his work to a further stage of development. He describes his work as “a collection of moments: areas of time”.
His work alludes to the human body, but at the same time avoids the anthropomorphic imagery of Smith.
For some, Royden Rabinowitch's work may appear little more than a series of half-heartedly thrown together bits of barrel. Cynics may also compare this important event in Scottish art to· the experience of several years ago, when Carl Andre exhibited his “collection of bricks” on the floor of the Tate Gallery. However, before one can judge, one must observe and this is strongly advisable in the case of Royden Rabinowitch's art.
Article by Giles Sutherland. Photograph by David PETHERICK