For several months following the completion of his first film, Tusalava, Lye lived with the famed literary couple Robert Graves and Laura Riding in their new island home, experimenting with various ideas for his next film and producing book cover designs for the couple’s Seizin Press – a wonderful study in modern design and a rarely considered part of Lye’s practice. It was a brief but productive episode for Lye with echoes of his childhood in coastal New Zealand.
Lye’s work appears alongside archival and literary materials by Graves and Riding, capturing the creative circle Lye occupied. Pride of place in On an Island is a rarely seen painting dedicated to Len Lye by Ben Nicholson, close friend, leading figure of the British art scene and one of Lye’s correspondents during his island stay.
Curated by Paul Brobbel