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Govett-Brewster Art Gallery announces the release of 'Tangible/Intangible: The Sound of Sculpture'
Cover of Caleb Kelly, Tangible/Intangible: The Sound of Sculpture, Ross Manning, Pixel Points, 2018.

NEW PLYMOUTH.- The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre launches Tangible/Intangible: The Sound of Sculpture by Caleb Kelly.

Commissioned in association with the Govett-Brewster’s 2018 exhibition Sensory Agents (August 4—November 18, 2018), this new essay looks to sculptural practices that explicitly employ sound as a medium.

Scholar and curator Caleb Kelly explores the development of sound arts through sculptural form and installation practices, investigating a changing understanding of the nature of sculpture itself and a new perspective on the importance of the senses in our appreciation of the arts.

Kelly notes, “Sound may seem like an odd material for sculpture, yet intangible materials have been utilised by sculptors since the mid-(twentieth) century. At that time, artists, including Len Lye and Max Neuhaus (two key case studies in this volume), were drawn to the intangible, seeking to engage sound, energy and motion as the stuff of their sculptures. These developments coincide with major shifts in the art world towards a renegotiation of what were considered acceptable materials for art making.”

“The essay looks to sound as a marker of energy and movement, as a way to draw an audience into experiencing sculpture and by doing so fully sense art.”

Tangible/Intangible includes examples from a diverse range of international artists such as Laurie Anderson, Vicky Browne, Eric Demetriou Rafael Ferrer, Rebecca Horn, Paul Kos, Len Lye, Ross Manning, Max Neuhaus, Akio Suzuki, Jean Tinguely, Takis and Pia van Gelder.

Tangible/Intangible: The Sound of Sculpture is published as part of the Govett-Brewster’s STATEMENTS series of commissioned essays. Previous essays include Erika Balsom’s An Oceanic Feeling: Cinema and the Sea (2018).

The book will be available for purchase at the Govett-Brewster Shop and online at

Caleb Kelly is Associate Professor of Media Art & Art Theory at UNSW Art & Design in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Cracked Media: the sound of malfunction (MIT Press 2009) and Gallery Sound (Bloomsbury Academic 2017). Kelly edited Sound for the Documents of Contemporary Art series (Whitechapel Gallery). He is a sought after catalogue essayist and curator. Most recently he curated Materials, Sounds + the Black Mountain College (2019) at the Black Mountain College Museum in Asheville, USA and Material Sound, which is currently on a three year national tour of Australia (2020-2023).

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