A pioneer of ‘diret’ film-making, Lye (1901 – 1980) worked directly onto celluloid, scratching into it, painting and stencilling onto it.
The results are lyrical and energetic abstract films, often set to Cuban jazz, Pacific or African rhythms and contemporary compositions. Lye worked initially in New Zealand, but left in 1921 to travel through Australia and Western Samoa before a long period in London (1926 – 1933), where a number of short films were commissioned by the GPO. He finally settled in New York (1944 – 1980) where he continued to write, make films and kinetic sculpture. A selection of 16mm films, spanning Lye’s career, were projected on a twice-daily basis throughout the exhibition.