Mar 31, 2010

Len Lye- Most Unboring Person Ever- Amanda Bonaiuto

Len Lye(1901-1980) was a New Zealand born artist dedicated to motion.

Len Lye found a way to answer the question of creating a 1:1 relationship using visuals and motion. He Pioneered many methods of direct filmmaking, or camera-less animation by painting and carving directly onto film. This discovery or invention has been inspirational for many artists, namely Norman Mclaren. People often confused the works of Mclaren and Lye because of their similar techniques, however they were good friends and always spoke generously about each others work.
Len Lye was all about creating "new forms" of art and avoiding falling into the category of traditional art making. Lye seemed to possess a sense of movement far beyond most artists, which allowed him to "compose motion" and ultimately come to a cross roads between traditional art making and experimental art making. Lye's need for alternate forms of creating is what lead to his inventing camera-less animation and using film to work on directly, as if it were a pen and paper.
We see this technique used in "A Colour Box"(1935)---

Animation today can be examined as a medium used for experimentation and could even be considered radical. Animation is the inventors medium and this type of thinking is reflected in Len Lye's work. Len Lye believed "There has never been a great film unless it was created in the spirit of the experimental film-maker. All great films contribute something original in manner or treatment". Discovering that films could be made by painting or scratching into film was a big deal because of creative solutions but also because it meant less money to be spent and no need to purchase a film camera.

Free Radicals(1958)
Len Lye wasn't interested in representing actual objects in his films, but rather representing motion through "pure figures", meaning shapes, lines, and color which possess the rhythm of the film. Lye was fascinated with waves, forms, and color from a young age; he simply had an eye for motion.


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