Rings actor plans capital exhibition - He can act, he can write, and now Hollywood heart-throb Viggo Mortensen is to unleash his painting prowess on Wellington.

Cheers Viggo!! KIWI TUCKER: Viggo Mortensen in Wellington last year.DOMINION POSTCheers Viggo!! KIWI TUCKER: Viggo Mortensen in Wellington last year.DOMINION POST

He can act, he can write, and now Hollywood heart-throb Viggo Mortensen is to unleash his painting prowess on Wellington.

Mortensen, who played Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is to exhibit more than 100 of his paintings and photographs at Massey University's Wellington campus, the former National Museum, on November 28.

The exhibition will be held two days before the world premiere of The Return of the King at Wellington's Embassy Theatre. It will be preceded by an invitation-only gala, to be attended by Mortensen and several other Rings stars.

The next day, Mortensen will officially launch the exhibition, which will double as a signing session for a book of his photographs and writings.

Mike Freeman, university director of development and alumni, said the gala would be a star-studded event, with donations going toward the university's proposed school for film and television.

Mortensen and his publishing company, Perceval Press, approached Massey about holding an exhibition at the museum building about two months ago, Mr Freeman said.

"He (Mortensen) thought it was a terrific venue. He liked the architecture and the grandeur of the building."

Mortensen, who had fans - mostly women - lined up around the block for another book signing last year at the Green Parrot Cafe in Wellington, is in Denmark at present.

Massey's pro-vice chancellor of the college of fine arts and music, Duncan Joiner, said Mortensen was "a dream" to work with. "He is great fun. He has none of the airs and all of the graces. He came and met us on a filthy Sunday morning in bare feet . . . He's a bare-feet man around town."

Dr Joiner praised Mortensen's work, which he said combined abstract modernism with photographs. His photographs were mainly landscapes and portraits.

"He is an interesting character as an artist. He has some very, very good photographs and I know that he has done a lot of landscape photography while he has been in New Zealand."

Mortensen has also exhibited in Denmark and in the United States---Bess Manson, Dominion Post

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