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date: 22 October 2019

Lye, Len [Huai, Leonard Charles]locked

(b Christchurch, July 5, 1901; d New York, May 15, 1980).
  • Roger Horrocks

Extract

[Huai, Leonard Charles]

(b Christchurch, July 5, 1901; d New York, May 15, 1980).

American film maker, sculptor, and painter of New Zealand birth. He began work in New Zealand, then moved to Australia, Samoa, and England (where he settled in 1926). Tusalava (1929) was the first of his 24 films. He pioneered various methods of ‘direct’ film making, eliminating the camera by painting directly on to clear film (Colour Box, 1935), developing the ‘rayogram’ technique (Colour Cry, 1952) and scratching black film (Free Radicals, 1958). He experimented with colour processing in Rainbow Dance (1936) and Trade Tattoo (1937).

The batiks (e.g. Polynesian Connection, 1928) and oil paintings (e.g. Jam Session, 1936; both New Plymouth, NZ, Govett-Brewster A.G.) that Lye exhibited with the Seven and Five Society (1927–34) and in the International Surrealist Exhibition (1936) were influenced by his profound study of tribal art. In 1944...

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