A great original.10 March 2013 by Marc Taddei
One of the must visit galleries in Wellington is the City Art Gallery. Last week, during Orchestra Wellington’s Government House concert rehearsal period I visited and was pleased to see an exhibit of a number of Len Lye’s kinetic sculptures and some of his early scratch (or direct) films. His work is tremendously exciting to me and I was pleased to perform an Eve de Castro-Robinson work, “Len Dances” to a compilation of his scratch films (edited by his biographer, Roger Horricks) with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra a number of years ago.
Len Lye was born in New Zealand but spent most of his life in New York and had a keen interest in popular music (much like Jackson Pollack). Eve’s piece is great fun and fuses post modernist techniques, including appropriation into a sophisticated and audience friendly work. Roger’s choices for the accompanying movie matched beautifully.
When I was in the gallery, I took a short video of his 1935 scratch film “Kaleidoscope” while his beautiful kinetic sculpture of 1961, “Grass” is seen to the left. Kaleidoscope’s music is Biguine d’Amour by Don Baretto and his Cuban Orchestra.
Eve and Roger collaborated on an opera entitled, Len Lye that was premiered last year. It had wonderful reviews but unfortunately I was not in town when it had its season run. I reckon the opera needs to be staged again.