Govett-Brewster's new exhibitions suite marks its 50th anniversary

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Govett-Brewster's new exhibitions suite marks its 50th anniversary
Candice Lin, A Robot Spoke What My Father Wrote, 2019. Photo: Ian Byers-Gamber.

NEW PLYMOUTH.- The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre is Aotearoa New Zealand’s contemporary art museum, and the global home of modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye’s art and ideas.

The next exhibitions suite, marking its 50th year, features a solo exhibition of newly commissioned and existing works by Candice Lin, a comprehensive survey of Lye’s moving image works, and a new commission by Govett-Brewster Artist "In Residence," Sorawit Songsataya.

Candice Lin: Pigs & Poison
A survey exhibition by LA-based artist Candice Lin, who explores legacies of Chinese migration and the interconnected cultivation of crops like tobacco, sugar cane, poppy, and fungi. She has spent a decade working through the material linkages between human histories of colonisation and non-human life in many forms. Her work also expands outward to look at the role language plays in racialising our understanding of contagions, vitality, and cognition.

The stories unearthed weave together specificities of British and American colonialism and imperialism in China to deliver a complex view of lesser-known histories with a focus on Chinese migration. The works delve into colonial processes familiar to Aotearoa New Zealand and have uncanny relevance today; stories of migration and borders; racial profiling and detainment; bodies and remedies; viruses and war giving unsettling historical context for current conditions.

Lin’s approach to conveying marginalised histories is as varied as the stories themselves, encompassing virtual reality, sculpture, textiles, drawing, painting, and large-scale kinetic installation.

Pigs and Poison premieres at the Govett-Brewster on August 8, 2020 before travelling to partner institutions the Times Museum, Guangzhou, and Spike Island, Bristol.

Len Lye: The Absolute Truth of the Happiness Acid
Produced in collaboration with Berlin-based designers Kooperative fr Darstellungspolitik, this exhibition explores new methods of presenting Len Lye’s films in the gallery, with extensive use of archival materials to expose his handmade approach to filmmaking. This is the most comprehensive survey of Lye’s film practice yet exhibited at the Govett-Brewster.

Also showing is Len Lye’s Sky Snakes, the latest large scale kinetic sculpture reconstructed by the Len Lye Foundation, with the support of Team Zizz!

The Absolute Truth of the Happiness Acid and Sky Snakes are produced with the support of the Len Lye Foundation and Ngā Taonga: Sound and Vision.

vSorawit Songsataya: Rumours (Mermaid)
A new commission by Sorawit Songsataya, the Govett-Brewster’s first 2020 Artist "In Residence," will be on view in the street-front Open Window Gallery.

Examining animal-cultural fluidity and hybrid forms through the mythical figure of the mermaid, the exhibition considers the distance and difference humans construct between themselves and the natural world, and how this sits in contrast with our desire to reconnect with the environment.

Rumours (Mermaid) is the outcome of Songsataya’s residency, which focuses on the local ecological and geographic histories of Ngāmotu; in particular, Paritutu Rock and the Sugar Loaf Islands.

The Gallery’s "In Residence" 2020 programme (supported by Creative New Zealand and New Plymouth District Council), sees three New Zealand-based artists undertake month-long residencies from their own homes and studios, with artworks presented on digital platforms.

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