Series 5

1987-89 | The seventeen works that make up Series 5 (twelve of which are still at the Park) have little in common with the brooding pieces that preceded them. Made from shiny stainless steel rather than dark COR-TEN plate, they are significantly smaller than anything Rubinoff had made since the early 1970s. And while they are also composed from pseudo-mechanical forms, here the arrangements of cogs and shafts are not so much ossified into ominous ruins as frozen in delightful motion. This joyously musical series uses counterpoint to balance pairs of elements in space, and introduces for the first time the cast sphere, around which all of the compositions are based.

Series 5-2

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1987, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 6ft W 2ft L 2ft

‘Music is sculpture in elastic space, sculpture is music in plastic space’. Rubinoff had always equated music and sculpture, but this is arguably his most musical series of all. He even referred to these works as his ‘Brandenburg Concertos’. All of these sculptures are comprised of abstract melodic motifs that force the viewer to encircle them, experiencing them unfolding in time, much like music.
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‘Music is sculpture in elastic space, sculpture is music in plastic space’. Rubinoff had always equated music and sculpture, but this is arguably his most musical series of all. He even referred to these works as his ‘Brandenburg Concertos’. All of these sculptures are comprised of abstract melodic motifs that force the viewer to encircle them, experiencing them unfolding in time, much like music.

Series 5-3

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1987, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 6.5ft W 2ft L 2ft

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Series 5-3

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1987, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 6.5ft W 2ft L 2ft

One of the most challenging technical tasks for sculptors in steel is the creation of a sphere. The shape has to be cast in two halves, which are fused together then finished and burnished to look like they have always been one. In this work, Rubinoff  included two of them, which both rest in precarious equilibrium on the angular forms around them.

Series 5-5

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1988, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube/rod,
H 7ft W 2ft L 2ft

In an otherwise upbeat series, this tour de force is unusually violent. Placing his signature sphere inside four radiating forms, the arrangement brings to mind a turbine, a weapon, or perhaps even the shockwaves of an explosion. This effect is enhanced by the collapsing forms beneath it, including a large T-form that seems to be falling to the ground.
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In an otherwise upbeat series, this tour de force is unusually violent. Placing his signature sphere inside four radiating forms, the arrangement brings to mind a turbine, a weapon, or perhaps even the shockwaves of an explosion. This effect is enhanced by the collapsing forms beneath it, including a large T-form that seems to be falling to the ground.

Series 5-7

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1988, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube/rod,
H 6.5ft W 2ft L 2ft

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Series 5-7

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1988, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube/rod,
H 6.5ft W 2ft L 2ft

The seventh sculpture in the series is one of the most delicate sculptures Rubinoff ever made — so delicate that from certain viewpoints it looks almost like a drawing, perhaps made by a Russian Suprematist in the early twentieth century. One vertical tube and three diagonal poles support a delightful arrangement of geometrical forms, each one barely touching its neighbours.

Series 5-10

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1988, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 6ft W 2ft L 2ft

Here, the delicacy of 5-7 is substituted for a more solid, even architectural, arrangement. Two thick tubes rise vertically from the ground, while around them rotate two broken halves of a pierced square. Between them appear two cast spheres. But here, in a characteristic act of experimentation, one of those spheres cracks open into two hollow eggshell forms.
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Here, the delicacy of 5-7 is substituted for a more solid, even architectural, arrangement. Two thick tubes rise vertically from the ground, while around them rotate two broken halves of a pierced square. Between them appear two cast spheres. But here, in a characteristic act of experimentation, one of those spheres cracks open into two hollow eggshell forms.

Series 5-11

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1988, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube/rod,
H 6ft W 1.5ft L 1.5ft

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Series 5-11

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1988, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube/rod,
H 6ft W 1.5ft L 1.5ft

One column supports two square-edged triangles — one of which is pierced — two crossing tubes, and a stainless steel sphere. As in many of these works, Rubinoff implies a narrative with a past, present and future: it seems as if the tube, after penetrating one of the triangular forms, has knocked the sphere out of it, which is about to tumble down the other triangle.

Series 5-12

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1989, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 6.5ft W 2ft L 2ft

This work features the first bent stainless steel tubes of the Series, in a motif reminiscent of Series 2. They rise up from the ground and bend in different directions, like the periscopes of a subterranean submarine. On top of them four oblongs cascade gradually downwards, opening and closing in a concertina effect, with a single sphere perched atop them.
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This work features the first bent stainless steel tubes of the Series, in a motif reminiscent of Series 2. They rise up from the ground and bend in different directions, like the periscopes of a subterranean submarine. On top of them four oblongs cascade gradually downwards, opening and closing in a concertina effect, with a single sphere perched atop them.

Series 5-13

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1989, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 7ft W 2.5ft L 2ft

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Series 5-13

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1989, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 7ft W 2.5ft L 2ft

Rubinoff sited all of his works carefully. He situated this piece on a mound next to a pond, where positive and negative space met. Its location lends the sculpture a particularly animated surface, as light reflects off the neighbouring water and dances over its shiny surfaces. This is the first work in the group to include a cross-form, which Rubinioff used for the rest of the Series.

Series 5-14

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1989, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 6.5ft W 2.5ft L 2ft

In this work Rubinoff combines a number of his recent innovations, including three bent-tube periscopes, three concertina squares, a crowning cross, and of course the Series’ signature sphere. Like all of the pieces in this Series, the arrangement of the forms pushes the viewer to walk slowly around them, enjoying the counterpoint in space as well as time.
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In this work Rubinoff combines a number of his recent innovations, including three bent-tube periscopes, three concertina squares, a crowning cross, and of course the Series’ signature sphere. Like all of the pieces in this Series, the arrangement of the forms pushes the viewer to walk slowly around them, enjoying the counterpoint in space as well as time.

Series 5-15

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1989, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 6.5ft W 2.5ft L 2.5ft

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Series 5-15

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1989, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 6.5ft W 2.5ft L 2.5ft

This extremely complex work takes the double periscope supports but rather than planting their bases straight into the ground has them loop back up again and unite beside each other. Above, just between two crosses and one pierced triangle, Rubinoff introduces a ball-and-shell motif, in which a sphere is shown inside a hollow half-sphere. 

Series 5-16

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1989, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 7ft W 2.5ft L 2ft

After the deeply unconventional 5-15, this work is more logically arranged. Four periscopes rise up vertically, supporting two interlocking cross forms and one sphere. But here Rubinoff splits the sphere in half, which opens up towards the sky. This may be an allusion to the mode of manufacturing; spheres being cast in two parts before being fused together.
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After the deeply unconventional 5-15, this work is more logically arranged. Four periscopes rise up vertically, supporting two interlocking cross forms and one sphere. But here Rubinoff splits the sphere in half, which opens up towards the sky. This may be an allusion to the mode of manufacturing; spheres being cast in two parts before being fused together.

Series 5-17

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1989, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 7ft W 2ft L 2ft

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Series 5-17

Jeffrey Rubinoff

1989, Stainless 304 steel – Casting & Welded plate/tube,
H 7ft W 2ft L 2ft

Rubinoff innovated again in this final work of the Series. The periscope tops now point in both directions, though in truncated form. The two crosses remain but one of them is fabricated from tubes. They are connected by two cascading tubular H-forms —  the first use of the motif in the Series — though accompanied, yet again, by the spherical forms theatre unique to this group of works.

Rubinoff Collection Overview

Early Works

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

Series 4

Series 5

Series 6

Series 7

Series 8

Series 9

Early Works

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

Series 4

Series 5

Series 6

Series 7

Series 8

Series 9