New Len Lye exhibition promises a sculptural storm

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Storm, an ensemble of sculptures by Len Lye never exhibited in New Zealand before, will go on show at NPDC’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery | Len Lye Centre this weekend.


Exhibited just once in Lye’s lifetime, Storm featured in the exhibition Kinesthetics, at New York’s Howard Wise Gallery’s in 1969 and is being reconstructed by the Len Lye Foundation for the show starting Saturday 26 August.


A teaser for a larger work occupying Lye’s mind, Storm consists of the first components of a proposed but never-realised ensemble of more than 40 kinetic sculptures to be called Storm Chamber.


Storm comprises three of those elements. The individual works Storm King, Thunder Sheet, and Lightning Bolts are choreographed in a kinetic performance which evokes the forces of nature.


“The original elements of Storm have long resided in the Len Lye Foundation collection as archival pieces. Drawing on these remaining components of the 1969 work, plus Lye’s notes, audio recordings and drawings, the Len Lye Foundation have been able to reconstruct the work,” says Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre Director Zara Stanhope.


Storm was re-engineered in Christchurch by the Foundation ahead of the exhibition, notably the final of Lye’s works to be reconstructed by longstanding Foundation Director Evan Webb before he passed away earlier this year.


The exhibition’s opening weekend features a range of free events including the premiere of Weather Assemblage, an original musical response to the work composed by Ōtautahi/Christchurch musician Noel Meek for playing in concert with Storm.


Meek will be joined by Eamon Edmundson-Wells and Sean Martin-Buss on a new instrument constructed for working with Storm, as well as taonga pūoro practitioners Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu), Jake Kīanō Skinner (Ngāti Rangitihi, Tūhoe) and Larsen Winiata Tito-Taylor (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Whātua, Tainui).


Storm runs through to 28 April 2024. More information at   


Opening weekend events:

Saturday 26 August

11am-11.30am:  Artists Talk with Noel Meek, Eamon Edmundsen-Wells and Larsen Winiata Tito-Taylor
11.30am – 3pm: Performances of Weather Assemblage at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm.

Sunday 27 August

10.30am – 12.30pm: Toi Mā te Whānau: Make your own wind instruments.
1.30pm – 3.30pm: Musicians’ Masterclass.
3pm: Wind Wand Performance with all participants of Sunday’s Toi Mā te Whānau and Musician Masterclass.


Fast Facts

  • Govett-Brewster Art Gallery opened in 1970, funded by a bequest from local woman Monica Brewster (nee Govett), with the Len Lye Centre opening within the Gallery in 2015.
  • The Gallery has won numerous architectural and design awards and is globally recognised for its innovative and inclusive exhibition programming.
  • The Gallery is owned and operated by NPDC and attracted over 84,000 visitors last year.
  • The Gallery also runs an art and design store, an art-house cinema, and offers regular education and public programmes relating to the exhibitions and contemporary conversations.


Caption: Len Lye with Storm King, 1960s. Len Lye Foundation Collection.