Points of Contact: Jim Allen, Len Lye, Hélio Oiticica
19 March - 22 May 2011
The exhibition Points of Contact: Jim Allen, Len Lye, Hélio Oiticica traced the historical and conceptual connections between New Zealand artist Jim Allen (b.1922), a significant figure in the development of post-object art in New Zealand, and two of his key contemporaries: expatriate experimental filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye (1901-1980) and Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980).
Points of Contact drew together bodies of work which share certain material and conceptual qualities, most especially their engagement with light, movement, colour, and the body.
Central to the exhibition was the reconstruction of Allen’s pivotal 1969 Small Worlds exhibition at Barry Lett Galleries in Auckland, one of the earliest instances of environmental sculpture to be presented in New Zealand.
These installations were joined by other works by all three artists that are variously originals, reconstructions and photographic documentation. The re-staging enabled viewers to dwell on the challenges and possibilities posed by the re-presentation of ephemeral or conceptual works of art, and therefore to explore the complex legacy of the ‘post-object’.
This exhibition presented Hélio Oiticica’s work for the first time in New Zealand.
Points of Contact joins a number of recent surveys that challenge the European and North American art historical paradigm, proposing and examining instead parallel and specific art historical trajectories outside these centres, in both their local and global dimensions.
News article on Jim Allen’s Contact at ARTSPACE, Auckland March 2011
Organised and toured by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery with assistance from Creative New Zealand and Michael Lett and curated by Tyler Cann and Mercedes Vicente. Thanks to the New Zealand Film Archive and the Len Lye Foundation.
Two artists: Two Educators, Jim Allen and David Cross 7 April 2011 [mp3]
Paulo Venancio Filho lecture on Helio Oiticica’s Time and Place 19 May 2011 [mp3]