December 6, 2009 - Govett-Brewster Art Gallery - Len Lye
December 6, 2009

Len Lye

Len Lye the book
Summer exhibitions

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Queen St, New Plymouth
Aotearoa New Zealand
Free entry

Len Lye: A New Publication from the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Foundation

From the perspective of canonical, medium-specific modernism, Lye is an outlier, a tantalizingly peripheral yet prescient figure. But as the twentieth century fades to black and its art history is rewritten, Lye’s name is likely to outshine that of many better-known moderns.

- Charles Green in Artforum

The least boring person who ever lived.

- Poet Alastair Reid

Best known for his vibrant ‘direct’ films painted on celluloid, New Zealand-born Len Lye (1901-1980) was a kinetic sculptor, poet, painter and writer as well as an experimental filmmaker. This new publication brings together the many facets of Lye’s energetic mind, pioneering career and ebullient personality, throwing fresh light on a seminal figure in the history of the moving image.

With contributions by editors Tyler Cann and Prof. Wystan Curnow alongside new essays by Guy Brett, Roger Horrocks, Evan Webb and Tessa Laird, this comprehensive and visually rich presentation of Lye’s work underlines his distinctive place in modern and contemporary art.

Len Lye is co-published by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and the Len Lye Foundation with support from the Govett-Brewster Foundation, and distributed internationally by Random House, contact

Summer exhibitions

Len Lye: The Cosmic Archive
12 December 2009 – 15 March 2010

Len Lye: The Cosmic Archive explores the space age imagination, atomic age trepidation and their impact on Lye’s work. The Len Lye Collection and Archive at the Govett-Brewster contains hundreds of articles he gleaned from the popular press ranging from particle physics to palaeontology. This exhibition presents Lye’s clippings alongside the newly reconstructed kinetic sculpture, Moon Bead (1968/2009), the rarely-seen Bones (1965), and films The Birth of the Robot (1936) and Particles in Space (1957-1979).

Curated by Len Lye Curator Tyler Cann

Alberto Baraya: An Expedition to New Zealand
12 December 2009 – 21 March 2010

Taking the role of a nineteenth century explorer, Colombian artist Alberto Baraya collects and catalogues artificial plants from some of the world’s most fertile places. His ongoing Herbarium of Artificial Plants mimics elaborate botanical displays, exploring our use of nature, and questioning the objectivity of scientific orders. This exhibition features specimens collected ‘on expedition’ in New Zealand. Baraya’s taxonomies merge colonial exploitation with consumerism, tourism and global exchange. Baraya also presents the new SilkFern in Pukekura Park’s celebrated Fernery.

Curated by guest curator Alejandra Rojas

China in four seasons: Zhang Peili
12 December 2009 – 15 March 2010

China in four seasons: Zhang Peili presents an artist at the threshold of experimental practice in media arts in China since the 1980s. Zhang Peili’s video practice, including his astonishing 2008 work A Gust of Wind, suggests political and social contexts while adopting associations with memory, personal experience and states of mind. Impermanence, discontinuity, uncertainty and unexpected forces inform his investigations. This is the third in the Govett-Brewster’s year long series of solo exhibitions exploring the breadth, power and specificity of art from China.

Co-curated by Director Rhana Devenport and Pi Li, Beijing

For more information please contact:
Craig Ashworth, Communications Co-ordinator

Rhana Devenport, Director

The Govett-Brewster gratefully acknowledges the following supporters:

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
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