Biographical / Historical
Darcy Lange (1946-2005) is an internationally respected video artist and documentarian born in Urenui, Taranaki, New Zealand. He enrolled at Elam School of Fine Arts after moving to Auckland in 1964 and received his Diploma in Fine Arts, Honours in 1967. In 1968, Lange travelled to London and went on to receive a Masters in Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art, London (1971).
Throughout his studies Lange focused on creating large-scale sculptural work, with his final work at the RCA being a three-dimensional reconstruction of Irish workers digging up roads. During the early 1970s he shifted to using film as his primary form of artistic expression. Continuing through this shift in medium, he remained focused on creating works with a social realism and the documentary approach evident in his earlier sculptural works.
An interest in labour or the worker was a focus throughout his career. His most significant documentary video works included Documentation of Bradford Working Life, England (1974);Study of three Birmingham schools (1976) andStudies of teaching in four Oxfordshire schools (1977). All these films focus on different aspects of work, either in a physical or intellectual sense.
In his video work, Lange utilised long unedited takes to capture real time and was one of the first video artists to do so. Shooting photography, film and video simultaneously, enabled Lange to experiment with the structural possibilities of the moving and still image.
Following the People at Work series, Lange captured portraits of significant New Zealand artists in the series Artists at Work.
In 2006, a significant touring exhibition of Lange’s work was curated by Mercedes Vincente at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery entitled Darcy Lange: Study of an Artist at Work.