Len Lye: A Biography by Roger Horrocks

By Roger Horrocks

Len Lye: A Biography tells for the 1st time the tale of a different, charismatic artist who was once an innovator in lots of areas—film, kinetic sculpture, portray, images, and poetry. Born in New Zealand in 1901, Len Lye received a world attractiveness within the arts and had friendships with many recognized humans, together with Dylan Thomas, Robert Graves, Gertrude Stein, John Grierson, Norman McLaren, Oskar Fischinger, John Cage, Robert Creeley, Laura driving, Stan Brakhage, and the artists of the recent York institution. a colourful bohemian, Lye lived in London from 1926 to 1944 (where he made hugely unique hand-painted motion pictures for John Grierson’s GPO movie Unit), then moved to long island for the final 36 years of his lifestyles.

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Sample text

As for their love of public scandals, Lye was not tempted to mount a one-man avant-garde offensive on the New Zealand art world, despite the inviting target it must have offered. Not that he ever lost his interest in Futurist art — in fact, he was never able to find enough illustrations to satisfy his curiosity. The boldness of modern art appealed immediately to Lye’s individualism 48 len lye and appetite for the new. It confirmed his hunch that the world of art was much broader and wilder than the provincial version in which he had been trained.

19 He paid minute attention to the lighting changes at sunset: ‘The sun hits the grass on the edge of some near cliffs which goes green-yellow. All the cliffs that line the far half of the crescent bay are in shadow transparent enough to see their fissures . 20 Then he described his walk back to Wellington: ‘There’s no need to stop thinking of colour just because it’s night. ’ 21 34 len lye As an artist Lye seemed to be heading towards Impressionism with its emphasis on the greatest possible naturalism and immediacy, in contrast to the precise line-drawing he continued to practise at the Technical College.

As he later described the experience: ‘It had been raining all night, and there were these marvellous fast little skuddy clouds in the blue sky. As I was looking at those clouds I was thinking, wasn’t it Constable who sketched clouds to try to convey their motions? Well, I thought, why clouds, why not just motion? Why pretend they are moving, why not just move something? All of a sudden it hit me — if there was such a thing as composing music, there could be such a thing as composing motion. ’28 Lye felt he had just had ‘the best idea of his life’,29 though he would need time to work out its implications.

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