<em>Waking Up Slowly: Elizabeth Thomson and Len Lye</em> 2019, installation view, Upper ramp at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. Photo Sam Hartnett

Waking Up Slowly: Elizabeth Thomson and Len Lye 2019, installation view, Upper ramp at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. Photo Sam Hartnett

Exhibition

10 Aug — 17 Nov 2019

Waking Up Slowly: Elizabeth Thomson and Len Lye

Featuring works from the breadth of Lye’s career, Waking Up Slowly expands the view with Thomson’s equally corporeal world, at the heart of which is the sensual and serpentine ‘Waking Up Slowly’, Thomson’s rarely seen installation of hand-formed glass.

 

Waking Up Slowly is a spirited conversation between two indomitable creative forces, one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary artists, Elizabeth Thomson, and arguably the country’s most internationally acclaimed 20th century artist, Len Lye.

Kaitakatū Whakaaturanga Exhibition Curator Gregory O'Brien

#elizabeththomson
#lenlye

Waking Up Slowly is an exhibition about the creation of the world, the beginning of life on the planet and the coming to consciousness of the human mind. It also tells the story of two fiercely independent, yet generous spirited, artists whose works explore human nature as well as nature in the widest possible sense.

Waking Up Slowly is an intergenerational dialogue between Len Lye (1901–1980) and the contemporary Wellington-based sculptor/installation artist Elizabeth Thomson (1955 - ). Despite their dramatically different working situations – one a maverick twentieth century modernist male, the other a twenty-first century female, post-modernist artist – they share many of the same concerns. Both used photography in unorthodox ways; both enlisted new technologies and materials to impart new kinds of experience. They looked to the mythical past and to notions of collective intelligence and memory, as they did to the origins of life on the planet in the depths of the ocean.

The exhibition takes its title from Thomson’s Waking Up Slowly, a room-sized installation based upon an electron microscope view of a slime mould. As well as taking us into some of the darker nooks and crannies of the scientific world, the art of both Thomson and Lye evokes dream states and states of heightened, euphoric awareness. It is an exploration of the unconscious as well as conscious human mind.

Waking Up Slowly is a dialogue between art and science, between the imagination and the physical realm. It highlights some of the perennial concerns of art-making while also taking us into the remarkable, unprecedented worlds of Elizabeth Thomson and Len Lye. 

He whakaaturanga a Waking Up Slowly e pā ana ki te orokohanga o te ao, te orokohanga mai o te oranga i runga i Papatūānuku me te orokohanga o te hinengaro tangata. He whakaatu hoki i te kōrero e pā ana ki ngā ringatoi kaikā tokorua, he ngākau māhaki tonu, me te aha ka rukuhia te ao whakatangata me te ao tūroa hoki.

He kōrerorero ā-uki hoki a Waking Up Slowly, i waenga i a Len Lye (1901-1980) rāua ko te ringatārei nō Pōneke, a Elizabeth Thomson (1955 - ). Ahakoa te rerekē rawa atu hoki o a rāua tikanga mahi - arā, ko tētehi he tāne māia nō te rautau rua tekau, ā, ko tērā atu he wahine ringatoi kakama nō te rautau rua tekau mā tahi - he ōrite tonu o rāua āwangawanga. He korokē tonu tā rāua whakamahi i ngā kaponga pikitia; i tāiritia ngā hangarau hōu me ngā rauemi ki te hanga wheako hōu. I hoki whakamuri ki ngā kōrero, ki ngā tikanga me ngā whakaaro o nehe, tahuti atu ki ngā taketakenga koiora i runga o Papatūānuku, i te hōhonutanga hoki o Tangaroa.

I ahu mai te ingoa o te whakaaturanga nei i tā Thomson Waking Up Slowly, arā, he tāreitanga rahi rawa e pā ana ki tētehi tirohanga karu whārahi ki te hangarewa kōaro hāware. Ka whakaoho ngā mahi toi a Thomson rāua ko Lye i te mataara o te hinengaro, ā, ka rukuhia ngā koko o te ao pūtaiao. He kauruku tonu ki rō hinengaro, ki rō tamangaro anō hoki.

He matapakinga a Waking Up Slowly i waenga i te toi me te pūtaiao, i waenga hoki i te pohewatanga me te ao kikokiko. Ka whakatairangahia hētehi o ngā āwangawanga tautini e pā ana ki te hanga toi me te kawe hoki i a tātou ki ngā ao kapatau whakaharahara o Elizabeth Thomson rāua ko Len Lye.