Touch optimized Jul 02 2013
Interactive exhibit breathes new life into Nam June Paik Art Center

Nam June Paik, the late avant-garde artist, video-art pioneer and experimental musician, is enjoying a posthumous resurgence in the contemporary art scene, which is all about blurring traditional boundaries.

"Learning of Artists,’’ by Jung Eun-young, Shim Chae-sun and Emmanuel Moonchil Park / Courtesy of Nam June Paik Art Center

This is bringing attention to the “Fluxus Movement,” which peaked in the 1960s with support from Paik and other similar-minded artists, who stressed the value of interactivity and saw the audience as part of the artwork itself.

“What is more educational is most aesthetic, and what is most aesthetic is most educational,” Paik once said in explaining the Fluxus Movement. The “Learning Machine” exhibit at the Nam June Paik Art Center (NJP Art Center) in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, is an ambitious attempt at putting his words into practice.

Art group designAllook’s “Monument_Neighborhood;”

Here, visitors are encouraged to touch and feel some of the definitive works produced by latter-day successors of the Fluxus Movement, an experience curator Goo Jeong-hwa defined as part of a learning process.

“As methods and means of communication continue to develop, education is not the vertical, unilateral process it used to be, but more of a shared experience. We were inspired by the some of the experiments done by Fluxus movement artists and intended to create our own experiment that depends on participation from the audience,” Goo said.

The installation “The Fluxus is on the Floor, or the Floor is on the Fluxus?,” created by the artist duo of Kim Na-young and Gregory Maass, who call themselves Nayoungim & Gregory S. Maass, is one of the highlights of the exhibit.

Nayoungim & Gregory Maass’ “The Fluxus is on the Floor, or the Floor is on the Fluxus?”

The piece is a reconstruction of Kim and Maass’s previous works. In it, they jumbled a variety of objects, including keys, soy sauce bottles and bricks in a “stream of consciousness” manner, and their thought process is written on the blackboard behind.

Another duo, designAllook, composed of Kim Ji-hae and Jang Jong-kwan, imaginatively recreates their experience participating in communal childcare at Seongmisan Village in their installation, “Monument_Neighborhood.” The snail shell-like structure invites viewers to actively walk in and engage with the artwork.

Kim Young-gle drew her inspiration from a commonly-used black ballpoint pen. Her work “10 Facts about Monami 153” is a follow-up to her 2009 book “The Chronicle of Monami 153,” where she weaves “fiction-like facts and fact-like fictions” about the widely-sold stationery to create an odd sense of reality.

Mieko Shiomi’s “Fluxus Balance.”
/ Courtesy of Nam June Paik Art Center

“Fluxus Film Collection” is a collection of black-and-white films from various artists, who create unique forms out of mundane images such as blinking eyes and cigarette smoke.

Kim Yong-ik’s “Don’t Remove This Plastic Covering,” a painting in a covering with scribbled instructions on it, looks like it’s only half done. But of course, it’s done, the intention being to spark the imagination of viewers.

Additionally, video artist Jung Eun-young collaborated with stage designer Shim Chae-sun and documentary filmmaker Emmanuel Moonchil Park to recreate a stage for “yeosung gukgeuk,” an all-female musical theater genre that was popular in Korea during the 1950s.

Artist Kim Eull displays a series of drawings he drew over the course of 10 years, during his daily 2 p.m. tea break.

In Kim Wol-sik’s “Pangpungpongpungping,” viewers are invited to play table tennis with rackets made from a variety of items including a baseball bat, ladle, fly swatter and even a fire extinguisher. In the background plays his video piece, “Difficult Play,” in which people from Ansan Community Rehabilitation Center play table tennis, illustrating their difficulties in communication and social cohesion.

Paik’s painting “Untitled,” which wraps up the exhibit, is a performance instruction written by the artist in his later years and packed with energy and wit.

The NJP Art Center also included “Learning Machine Kit,” a low-priced piece of contemporary art, as part of this exhibition. Those who purchase the kits are encouraged to do performances of their daily lives as suggested by eight participating artists. This is homage to the “Fluxus Kit” of George Maciunas, the founder of the Fluxus Movement. Limited editions of 80 kits are available for purchase at the center.

“Learning Machine” runs through Oct. 6. Admission is 4,000 won for adults and 2,000 won for students. On the first floor, a permanent exhibition on Paik titled "Gentle Disturbance — Talking Paik" is under way.

For more information, visit www.njpartcenter.kr or call (031) 201-8500.

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