Len Lye | Love Springs Eternal
07.02.18 - 07.03.18
Starkwhite is pleased to present Len Lye: Love Springs Eternal from 7 February to 7 March 2018. The exhibition is produced with the support of the Len Lye Foundation, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery | Len Lye Centre and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision. The Len Lye Foundation will also launch a new book at the opening – The Long Dream of Waking: New Perspectives on Len Lye, edited by Paul Brobbel, Wystan Curnow and Roger Horrocks, and published by Canterbury University Press.
Recognised internationally as one the twentieth century’s great modernist innovators, New Zealand artist Len Lye is most famous for his avant-garde experimental films and for his astonishing and playful kinetic sculptures. Always fascinated by the interplay of movement and light, this extraordinary artist also expressed himself in photography drawing, painting and poetry.
During his lifetime he was better known in the art capitals of North America and Europe than in the country of his birth, but that has changed since the establishment of the foundation dedicated to his works at New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and particularly following the opening in 2015 of the Len Lye Centre, New Zealand’s first art museum dedicated to a single artist.
“All of a sudden it hit me – if there is such a thing as composing music, there could be such a thing as composing motion. After all there are melodic figures, why can’t there be figures in motion.” Len Lye
Len Lye: Love Springs Eternal reflects Lye’s life-long interest in composing motion through his kinetic sculptures and films. It includes a 3m tall Fountain with splayed stainless steel rods that create a gentle rustling sound as they sway and collide, and Roundhead (1961), one of the artist’s most delicate kinetic sculptures comprising four concentric circles that spin in space, with a sparse ambient sound track.
Lye was also known for his experimental film work where he pioneered direct filmmaking (films made without a camera) by scratching or painting directly onto celluloid film. This exhibition features the signature Lye film FREE RADICALS (1958), where he reduced film to its most basic elements – light in darkness – by scratching directly onto black film, and Peace (Fountain of Hope) 1950, which was commissioned by the UN to publicise United Nations Day (24th October) and screened worldwide in cinemas and on television. In this one-minute film, Lye superimposed the word for ‘peace’ in many different languages over some of his kinetic sculptures, including Fountain.