|Humans, machines, nature live through Paik's works.
||Jul 30 2012
YONGIN, Gyeonggi Province — Scattered in a garden are 25 television sets in the dark and only images from the screens are reflected on the leaves of the plants. There is a path surrounding the work for visitors to walk on as they experience this digital landscape. This is a work by the late artist Paik Nam-june (1932-2006) called “TV Garden,” which encompasses his three main principles — humans, machines and nature.
The avant garde media artist would have been 80 if he were still alive and the Nam June Paik (NJP) Art Center here opened an exhibition Friday reviewing Paik’s works and influence on later artists.
'Nostalgia is an Extended Feedback' features about 70 pieces by Paik and 12 other artists related to his artwork. Some of the participating artists collaborated with the artist while others wanted to pay tribute to the master.
The arcane title comes from a phrase Paik used in an essay written in 1992 to explain that this exhibition is not a plain retrospective but connects his acclaimed works with contemporary artists, emphasizing how his spirit continues to resonate.
Paik’s widow Shigeko Kubota visited Korea for the exhibit opening. When asked what she would say to the artist if he were still alive she said, 'Where are you Nam-june? Why did you leave me alone?'
She said the NJP Art Center is like a final home for the artist who was nomadic throughout his life. 'Finally Nam-june found a home 80 years after he was born in Seoul. Nam-june’s life was like a gypsy’s, travelling around the world, but now he has found a home,'she said.
On the first floor, Paik’s works using television monitors are on display. 'Marco Polo'(1993), which was shown at the German Pavilion during the 1993 Venice Biennale, symbolizes his idea of connecting the East and the West. A human-like figure made of a refrigerator and several televisions stands on top of a real flowerbed in a Volkswagen Beetle.
His interest in this area can also be seen in video art piece 'Rehabilitation of Genghis Khan'(1993). Paik’s version of the Mongolian warrior wears a diving helmet and is riding a bike. He carries a bundle of various machine parts for communication.
Along with Paik’s works, French artist Catherine Ikam's 'Fragments d'un archetype'(1980) is on display. The video sculpture interprets Leonard de Vinci's 'The Vitruvian Man' in the video era.
More of Paik’s works, including his signature robot and video synthesizer pieces, continue on the second floor.
The 13 video sculpture robots are displayed in the concept of 'Robot Theater.' Each of them are unique and represent different historic figures from Franz Schubert with a red 'hat' and comedian Charlie Chaplin to Queen Seondeok of Korea’s Silla Kingdom (57 B.C.-935 A.D.) and Confucian scholar Yulgok.
Olafur Eliasson's 'Your Uncertain Shadow' is related to Paik's 'One Candle,' as both of them play with light sources and show viewers’ multiple shadows.
Spanish media artist Antonio Muntadas presents 'File Room' to remind the concept of two-way communication Paik suggested, while Bill Viola’s work twists the flow of time.
'Nostalgia is an Extended Feedback' runs through Jan. 20, 2013. Admission is 4,000 won for adults and 2,000 won for youths. An international symposium on Paik and cybernetics will be held on Oct. 12 with Glenn Wharton, Bernhard Serexhe and William Kaizen.
The exhibition is complemented with screening of Paik’s major video works at Seoul Square Media Canvas, installed across from Seoul Station. The 98-meter-wide, 78-meter-high LED screen will feature works such as 'Hand and Face'(1961) 'Video Synthesizer'(1971) and 'Merce by Merce by Paik' (1975-76). The video art will be presented at 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through Aug. 20.
For more information, visit www.njpartcenter.kr or call (031) 201-8500.