Len Lye <em>Ribbon Snake</em> 1965. Len Lye Foundation Collection, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

Len Lye Ribbon Snake 1965. Len Lye Foundation Collection, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery


19 Dec 2017 — 29 Apr 2018

Len Lye: Convolutions

Loops of plastic pass through a structure of rollers to form slowly morphing bulges and curves.

Ribbon Snake (Convolution) is one of Len Lye’s most unusual kinetic sculptures.

Typically preferring to keep the machinery of his sculptures hidden from view, Ribbon Snake is rare in that its inner workings are exposed for all to see. As a filmmaker, Lye’s creation of Ribbon Snake (with the way the plastic strips wind through a series of rollers) may have been inspired by the workings of a movie camera. Its undulating, bulging motion is similarly suggestive of biomorphic, amoeba-like forms seen throughout Lye’s work and particularly in his paintings.

Lye ultimately considered this type of kinetic work as a means to develop ‘wall motion sculptures’, a kind of large-scale kinetic mural.

Marking the first time Ribbon Snake has been shown in New Plymouth, it is presented here alongside drawings showing the artist’s concepts for large-scale versions up to 500 feet in length, including variations titled Serpent and Spiral Family.

Curated by Paul Brobbel and Sarah Wall

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