<em>Len Lye in his studio</em>, 1930s. Courtesy of the Len Lye Foundation Collection, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre

Len Lye in his studio, 1930s. Courtesy of the Len Lye Foundation Collection, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre launches new documentary film programme

15 Feb 2017

New Zealand’s museum of contemporary art, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, has unveiled its expanded cinema programme for 2017 with a new partnership with the British Council of New Zealand.

Taking the Len Lye Centre Cinema into new territory, the Govett-Brewster welcomes the British Council’s extensive film programme to New Plymouth through the John Grierson Documentary Touring Programme.

Recognising the pioneering work of documentary filmmaker John Grierson (1898-1972), the Council has partnered with The Grierson Trust to showcase British documentary making to international audiences.

Govett-Brewster curator Paul Brobbel says the Govett-Brewster is thrilled to bring this programme, free of charge, to its audiences in the Len Lye Centre Cinema.

“In doing so, it recognises the historic connection between Len Lye’s (1901-1980) pioneering experimental cinema and John Grierson’s acclaimed role as director of the British Post Office Film Unit.”

“Lye’s career as a filmmaker flourished in London during the 1930s through Grierson’s vision, bringing Lye’s avant-garde techniques into his stable of documentary filmmakers at the GPO Film Unit”, says Brobbel.

“The working relationship between Lye and Grierson exemplifies the larger world of film we want to present in a cinema carrying the Len Lye name.”

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery director Simon Rees: “Since the 1960s, Britain – through its outstanding cluster of state broadcasting and production agencies – has led the world in long-form documentary making including works that test and blur the veracity and verite of the form”.

“Britain has been similarly influential in the production and support of art film and artist’s film (including the work of our own Len Lye). For those reasons we’re glad to have an exemplary season of British documentary films screening in the Len Lye Centre Cinema,” says Rees.

To celebrate the programme’s launch the Govett-Brewster and British Council will present on 19 February a special screening of British graffiti artist Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film, a former highlight of the John Grierson Touring Programme.

Films to follow in the programme include John Pilger’s The War You Don’t See; Asif Kapadia’s Senna; and Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman’s Soundtrack for a Revolution.

The programme screens in the Len Lye Centre cinema on the penultimate Sunday of each month (March through November), with individual films selected by the Govett-Brewster. The programme can be viewed and tickets reserved online. Tickets are free.

Image: Len Lye in his studio, 1930s. Courtesy of the Len Lye Foundation Collection, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre





The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre’s state-of-the-art 62-seat cinema encourages audiences to experience the films of Len Lye and the wider world of local and international cinema. The cinema welcomes visitors to see historical experimental film, contemporary artists’ moving image and regular film festival programming.



For high-res images or further enquiries please contact:
Kelly Loney

Communications Co-ordinator

M: +27 839 2660

E: kellyl@govettbrewster.com

W: www.govettbrewster.com


About Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is New Zealand’s contemporary art museum in the coastal city of New Plymouth, Taranaki on the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Since opening in 1970, the Gallery has dedicated itself to innovative programming, focused collection development and audience engagement. It has earned a strong reputation nationally and internationally for its global vision and special commitment to contemporary art of the Pacific Rim. The Govett-Brewster is also home to the collection and archive of the seminal modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye (1901–1980).

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery was founded with a gift to the city of New Plymouth, from one of its greatest ‘Friends’ Monica Brewster (née Govett). A globetrotter before the age of air travel, Monica Brewster envisaged an art museum for her hometown that would be an international beacon for the art and ideas of the current day – the sort she had become familiar with on her global travels.

The Govett-Brewster continues in the legacy of Monica Brewster by taking on and presenting the most provocative, audacious and confident works of art in the global arts landscape.

The greatly expanded museum re-launched on 25 July 2015 with the addition of the Len Lye Centre. With its curved exterior walls of mirror-like stainless steel, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre is the country’s first example of destination architecture linked to contemporary art.

This latest addition to the Govett-Brewster – the Len Lye Centre – is New Zealand’s first institution dedicated to a single artist, the pioneering filmmaker and kinetic sculptor, Len Lye.

In 1964 Len Lye said “Great architecture goes fifty-fifty with great art”.

The Len Lye Centre building, adjoining the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, is an example of innovative thinking in both engineering and architecture. The architects are Patterson Associates, one of New Zealand’s most internationally recognised architectural firms.

The new Len Lye Centre features Lye’s work in kinetic sculpture, film, painting, drawing, photography, batik and writing, as well as related work by contemporary and historical artists.

It also houses a state-of-the-art 62-seat cinema – a welcoming environment for audiences to experience Len Lye’s films, local and international cinema, arthouse and experimental films, and regular film festival programming.

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery building in New Plymouth closed in April 2013 for earthquake strengthening, compliance, upgrades and construction of the Len Lye Centre.


About Len Lye
A visionary New Zealander, an inspirational artist, a pioneer of film; Len Lye is one of the most important and influential artists to emerge from New Zealand.

Len Lye was an experimental filmmaker, poet, painter, kinetic sculptor and creative visionary ahead of his time. Most of his works were so revolutionary that technology literally had to catch up to him – meaning much of Lye’s work was not realised in his own lifetime.

Lye’s iconic 45-metre kinetic sculpture Wind Wand sways gently on New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway. The Wind Wand that glows red at night, is the first large outdoor sculpture to be built posthumously from his plans and drawings.

In 1977 Lye returned to his homeland to oversee the first New Zealand exhibition of his work at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. He called it the “swingiest art gallery of the antipodes”.

Shortly before his death in 1980, Lye and his supporters established the Len Lye Foundation, to which he gifted his entire collection. His collection was gifted on the condition that a suitable and permanent home be created in which his works could be fully realised.



“Lye’s career as a filmmaker flourished in London during the 1930s through Grierson’s vision, bringing Lye’s avant-garde techniques into his stable of documentary filmmakers at the GPO Film Unit” - Len Lye Curator Paul Brobbel