Thursday, July 14, 2011

True Lyes

Roger (Horrocks) and Hamish (Keith) and Wystan (Curnow) have been saying it forever, but you do have to admit Len Lye was one out of the box. We only met him a couple of times in the flesh, once at a talk he gave in Ray Thorburn’s living room in the seventies (a rush of strange ideas roaring above the clatter of a projector) and later at the Govett-Brewster as he fussed about for hours adjusting the swaying rods of his sculpture Fountain.

Over the last couple of months we've bumped into Len Lye from time to time as we researched the history of exhibition making in an extraordinary art library in Berlin. He seemed to be included in most leading edge group exhibitions right through the sixties and, as far as we could see, Lye made a point of being listed as a New Zealander in the catalogue entries.

It’s not always to your advantage when you are in the centre of things to remind people that you are from the edges. But Len Lye was nothing if not edgy.
Image: Len Lye featured (top left) in the 1961 Stedelijk exhibition Bewogen Beweging