171109 Horrocks Len Lye by wanghonghx


									Media release
20 November 2009

     New book, exhibition shed new light on life and work of Len Lye

―Kinetic art is the first new category of art since pre-history‖.

With this bold statement, uttered in 1964, Len Lye (1901-1980) left little doubt
that he would hold an integral place in New Zealand‘s artistic landscape. Today,
the filmmaker, kinetic sculptor, painter, photographer and writer is recognised as
one of the most original artists to emerge from this country.

Len Lye‘s life, work and ―big idea‖—that movement could be the basis for a
completely new kind of art—is explored in a new book by University of Auckland
Emeritus Professor Roger Horrocks, an experienced writer and filmmaker, and the
founder of The University‘s Department of Film, Television and Media Studies.

Art That Moves: The Work of Len Lye (Auckland University Press) illuminates
what Lye called the ―mystery of movement‖ in all forms of art-- from dance to
film-- and in our own lives. Roger Horrocks traces these connections and reveals
much that is new about Lye, including behind-the-scenes information about how
the artist dreamed up and applied his new methods of filmmaking and created his
kinetic sculptures. He also covers the remarkable story of how Lye‘s unfinished
projects are being built in New Zealand today and the controversy this has
sometimes aroused.

Art That Moves will be launched alongside an exhibition of the same name at the
University‘s Gus Fisher Gallery. The show-- the first public gallery exhibition of
Len Lye‘s works in Auckland since 1980-- features a sculpture which will be on
display for the first time. A wide-ranging, interdisciplinary programme of events
will accompany the exhibition, comprising author talks, musical performances,
and discussions with engineers, composers and filmmakers.

―Len Lye was one of the twentieth century‘s most innovative artists and in Art
That Moves his friend and biographer Roger Horrocks brings Lye‘s sculptures and
films to life again in a spectacular book and DVD. Auckland University Press is
proud to publish this first full-scale assessment of the work of a great New
Zealand artist,‖ says Sam Elworthy, Director of AUP.

"Lye has a world reputation as a filmmaker and was a pioneer of kinetic
(motorised) sculpture, but many people are aware of only one of these sides of
his work. Lye saw that films and sculptures are aspects of the same 'art of
motion'. I wanted to show the links between them and I felt that the verve and
originality of his ideas on the subject were still not fully understand. Hence the
book and the exhibition -- to combine the sculpture and the films,
and to uncover the theory behind the art," says Roger Horrocks, who worked as
Len Lye‘s assistant during the last year of the artist‘s life and wrote the best-
selling and critically acclaimed 2001 biography of Len Lye.

Appropriately for a book about movement, Art That Moves includes a DVD with
four of Lye‘s best films and some superb footage (directed by Shirley Horrocks) of
his sculpture in action. It also contains a new eighteen-minute film directed by
Roger Horrocks, a dramatic portrait of Lye in his early years.
The Art That Moves exhibition runs from 28 November – 6 February at the Gus
Fisher Gallery (74 Shortland Street). A vibrant and eclectic public programmes
calendar is detailed below. For more information visit

Art That Moves: The Work of Len Lye (Auckland University Press) is available
from bookstores from 30 November. RRP $59.99.

Amber Older, Communications Adviser
Ph: (09) 923 3257 or 021 942 677


Saturday 28 November
1pm Christchurch sculptor, Evan Webb, Director of the Len Lye Foundation, has a
unique knowledge of Lye‘s sculptures. He has been largely responsible for
maintaining them for many years. He has also been responsible for the
reconstruction of works that were realised after Lye's death and ensuring they are
true to the artist‘s vision. Evan will (literally) provide an inside view of what
makes Lye's work tick.

2pm Tyler Cann, Len Lye Curator, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, introduces Len
Lye and leads a tour of the exhibition ‗Art that Moves‘. Tyler was co-curator of the
recent large and very successful Lye exhibition in Melbourne.

Saturday 5 December, 1pm
Roger Horrocks, curator of 'Art that Moves' and author of the just-published book
of the same name, will discuss the main theme of the exhibition and why he feels
that Lye made a unique contribution to art through his theory and practice of
movement. Horrocks also wrote the best-selling 2001 Len Lye biography and
worked as Lye's assistant in the last year of the artist's life.

Thursday 10 December, 6.30pm
An evening screening of Len Lye‘s films not included in the exhibition, thanks to
the New Zealand Film Archive. It is an opportunity to see a number of his films in
their original celluloid form, including several titles less-well-known or recently re-

Saturday 12 December, 1pm
Film-maker Shirley Horrocks will introduce a screening of 'Flip and Two Twisters,'
her 1995 documentary about Len Lye and the making of his sculptures in New
Zealand since his death. This documentary, which includes footage of the artist,
has been screened by film festivals and art museums around the world.

Saturday 19 December, 1pm
Len Lye and the Kinetic Monument: Kate Linzey frames Len Lye‘s proposals
for large scale ‗tangible motion sculpture‘ in the context of the debate on ‗new
monumentality‘ in 20th century architecture. Now based at WELTEC in Wellington,
Linzey completed a Masters of Architecture from The University of Auckland in

Saturday 9 January, 1pm
A Composerly View of Len: Dr Eve de Castro-Robinson, School of Music,
discusses and presents excerpts from her musical works inspired by the life and
work of Len Lye, including ‗Len Dances‘ for orchestra, and ‗Len Songs‘ for mezzo
and ensemble.

Saturday 16 January, 1pm
In response to Len Lye‘s interest in the poetry of his time, Unitec lecturer and
film-maker Miriam Harris considers some innovative artists in the field of moving
images today whose work has similarly been informed by the structural qualities
of poetry.

Saturday 23 January, 1pm
A talk on Len Lye by Professor Wystan Curnow, one of New Zealand‘s leading
curators and art critics. Curnow was co-editor of the recent book Len Lye, and co-
editor of Figures of Motion (a 1984 collection of Lye‘s writings). He knew Lye and
has been involved with his work for over 30 years.

Saturday 30 January, 1pm
Like Len Lye, digital artist Gregory Bennett is interested in bodily kinesthetics and
patterns of movement, often influenced by music and sound. Bennett, who will
discuss the theories of sound and motion in own his work, completed a MFA at
Elam in 2004 and is now a senior lecturer at AUT.

Art that Moves: The Work of Len Lye
Curated by Roger Horrocks

27 November 2009 - 6 February 2010

Len Lye (1901-1980) is one of the most original artists to have emerged from New
Zealand. He developed his own theories about an ‗art of movement‘ as a new
approach to art. He became known around the world for his animation films,
pioneering the method of ‗direct film‘ (bypassing the camera by painting, scratching
and stencilling images directly onto celluloid). Later he became a pioneer of kinetic
or motorised sculpture. His work has an energy and freshness that gives it broad

‗Art that Moves‘, the present exhibition of Lye‘s films and sculptures, is the first at a
public gallery in Auckland since 1980. It explores Lye‘s intense engagement with
what he called the ‗magical mystery‘ of motion. In addition to films and kinetic
sculptures, there are paintings and photograms to represent other areas of his work
and to illustrate the implied movement in his static images. Among the five kinetic
sculptures in the show, there are two that have not previously been seen in
Auckland. The exhibition is linked with the publication of two new books: Art that
Moves: The Work of Len Lye by Roger Horrocks (AUP), and Body English: Texts and
Doodles by Len Lye (Holloway Press).

Thanks to The University of Auckland’s Business School, Mechanical Engineering,
Film, Television and Media Studies, the Len Lye Foundation and Govett-Brewster
Art Gallery, NZ Film Archive, Point of View Productions, Curio Wines and Aalto

All exhibitions and public programmes are free and take place at the Gus Fisher
Gallery unless otherwise noted.

The Gallery will close for Xmas on December 23 and reopens on January 5.

THE GUS FISHER GALLERY                              GALLERY HOURS
The Kenneth Myers Centre                            Tuesday - Friday 10am - 5pm
74 Shortland St                                     Saturday 12pm - 4pm
Auckland, New Zealand                               Closed Public Holidays
Telephone: 3737 599 ext 86646

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