Len Lye

Australian Centre for the Moving Image

In 1961 Len Lye wrote, “In tangible sculpture the aesthetic value of objects becomes secondary to that of their motion.” This just about sums up the message of this revelatory exhibition, almost entirely gathered from the encyclopedic holdings of the Len Lye Foundation at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (New Zealand’s most important museum of contemporary art), which, along with the New Zealand Film Archive, was given Lye’s work upon his death in 1980. Densely researched and beautifully installed by curators Alessio Cavallaro and Tyler Cann, this is the first comprehensive overview of one of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary artistic “free radicals.” That phrase embodied Lye’s own vision of art’s potential and was the title of one of his last works. Lye was an intermedia inventor of unclassifiable forms, images, and colors, rather than an artist interested in objects for themselves.

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