Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back to the future

Something that really hits home when you are visiting museums in Europe is how prescient Len Lye was in the early part of the twentieth century. His animated film Tusalava of 1921 is on permanent display in the Pompidou in Paris as one of about half a dozen films they use to mark the evolution of the medium as an art form. If you want an idea of how generative the Lye film is check out the number of soundtracks that have been put to in on YouTube.

We were also intrigued by a small kinetic piece by Naum Gabo. Reconstructed from a work made in 1919, it was an obvious influence on Lye. By pressing a button under the glass case you can watch the tiny sculpture thrum into action. It’s like looking at an ultrasound image of an embryo Len Lye. 

Images: Top, Tusalava on exhibition at the Pompidou and bottom, Naum Gabo’s Kinetic construction standing variation 1919-1920 (reconstructed in 1985)