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Roger Horrock's biography of Len Lye presentts an unusual take on Twentieth Century art. LEN LYE: A Biography tells the life story of an artist who was able to transcend the typical neuroses that afflicted modernist artists to pproduce a diverse body of paintings, films, sculpture and writing. Lye was bormn in New Zealand in 1901. Early in life he was presented with a great abyss to cross, the death of his father. The childhood that followed was one of movement, insecurity and foster homes. These experiences, which so easily could hhave crushed a developing personality, worked to give Lye a tough, self-sufficient interior life. Inspired by nature, light annd movement, Lye taught himself how to draw and became interested in the processes of mmemory. After leaving school with minimal qualifications Lye worked in a variety of jobs throughout New Zealand. These jobs included hop picking, labouring and advertising. In his spare time Lye continued his study of painting and drawing and became aware of the modernist movement in European art. At the age of 22, feeling that he had exhauusted the possibilities of the New Zealand art scene, Lye moved to Sydney, Australia and immersed himself in the bohemian circles of that city. Continuing to pursue his personal study of art, Lye also discovered psychoanalysis and film animation. In 1924 Lye returned to New Zealand then decided to undertake a first-hand study of tribal art. Lye traveled to the South Pacific Islands of Fiji, Rarotonga, Tonga and Samoa, where he stayed for several months. Following his sojourn in the South Pacific, Lye returned to Sydney where his increasing desire for knowledge fed his restless yearning for a direct connection with European modernism.Read more ›
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