Indepth Arts News: |
"The Worlds of Nam Jume Paik"
2000-02-11 until 2000-04-26
New York, NY,
USA United States of America
artist has had a greater influence in imagining and realizing the artistic
potential of video and television than Korean-born Nam June Paik. Through
a vast array of installations, videotapes, global television productions,
films, and performances, Paik has reshaped our perceptions of the temporal
image in contemporary art. The Worlds of Nam June Paik transforms the
Guggenheim Museum into a celebration of the moving image and an appreciation
of Paik s impact on the art of the late-twentieth century.
studied music composition first in Korea, then at the University of Tokyo,
where he wrote his thesis on Modernist composer Arnold SchNULLberg. In 1956
Paik traveled to Europe and settled in Germany to pursue his interest in
avant-garde music and performance. During studies at the Summer Course for
New Music in Darmstaat in 1958, he met composer John Cage. Cages ideas
on composition and performance were a great influence on Paik, as were those
of George Maciunas, the founder of the radical art movement Fluxus, which
Paik was invited to join.
initial artistic explorations of the mass media of television were presented
in his first solo exhibition in 1963, Exposition of Music–Electronic Television,
at the Galerie Parnass in Wuppertal, Germany. This milestone exhibition
featured PaikNULL prepared televisions. Paik altered the sets to distort
their reception of broadcast transmissions and scattered them about the
room, on their sides and upside down. He also created interactive video
works that transformed the viewers relationship to the medium. With these
first steps began an astonishing effusion of ideas and invention that
over the next 30 years would play a profound role in the introduction
and acceptance of the electronic moving image into the realm of art.
1964 Paik moved to New York and continued his explorations of television
and video, and, by the late 1960s, was at the forefront of a new generation
of artists creating an aesthetic discourse out of television and the moving
image. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Paik also worked as a teacher and
an activist, supporting other artists and working to realize the potential
of the emerging medium. Along with his remarkable sequence of videotapes
and projects for television—featuring collaborations with friends
Laurie Anderson, Joseph Beuys, David Bowie, Cage, and Merce Cunningham he
created a series of installations that fundamentally changed video and
redefined artistic practice.
the center of The Worlds of Nam June Paik is Modulation in Sync (2000),
which includes two laser installations created with Norman Ballard for
the museum rotunda that transform Frank Lloyd WrightNULL architecture into
a dynamic audiovisual space. Projected onto the rotunda oculus, Sweet
and Sublime is a rapidly changing display of geometric shapes that echo
Wright s innovative design. In Jacob s Ladder, laser projections pass
through a seven-story waterfall that cascades from the top of the museum.
On the rotunda floor, a cluster of television monitors, with their screens
facing up, project a pulsing display of rapidly changing imagery. Video
projections along the ramp edges aimed towards the center of the rotunda
provide a visual link between the images on the ground and those on the
oculus, symbolizing the connections between PaikNULL historical remaking
of video into an artistNULL medium and his latest transformation of laser
into a dramatic treatment of energy and light.
museumNULL High Gallery hosts Paik s recently completed three-dimensional
laser sculptures, while the ramps feature PaikNULL landmark installations
and sculptural pieces. In works such as Real Fish/Live Fish (1982), TV Chair
(1968), and Video Buddha (1976), the artist employs videocameras and monitors
to explore our perceptions of both external objects and ourselves and to
create a profound sense of how we understand the world. These works are
arranged together with the multiple-monitor installations Video Fish (1975),
TV Garden (1974), and TV Clock (1963), in which Paik arrays rhetorical and
aesthetic strategies to dismantle customary ways of seeing. Specially installed
for this exhibition, such pioneering works take on particular relevance
to the prevalent use of video by younger contemporary artists.
museums Tower Gallery houses a selection of Paik s early works, including
audio and video recordings and key sculptural and interactive works from
the 1960s and early NULL0s. These early prepared television and interactive
video pieces, including Magnet TV (1965) and Participation TV (1963),
offer a sophisticated, radical treatment of the ways in which interactions
with technology can yield new visual experiences.