Paik Nam June | Show

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Paik Nam June | Show

The Show is an exhibition to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the renowned artist Paik Nam June’s passing. A recurrent object within many of his pieces is the television. Visually, his pieces are a great portrayal of the ‘60s and ‘70’s, with neon lights, excessive use of plastic and occasional paint splatters.

Through his artistic endeavors, Paik became a key figure in the Fluxus art movement, which defied artistic conventions of the time. Described as an attitude, artists of this movement used everyday objects, sounds, images and texts to create new perceptions of a subject. As you observe the objects and works shown throughout this exhibition, you can gain insight into who Paik was as an artist and the message he wanted to spread regarding the nature and meaning of technology.

As you enter the room entitled Hope, you are quickly invited by a family of robotic figures lined up. Made of wooden compartments containing small and large television sets, these human-like figures symbolize the coexistence and unity of technology and humanity. As you examine any one of the figures, you can observe how their backsides have an unfinished quality, which contrasts with their intimidating fronts. The wires and cords giving life to the robots are no different than the ones behind your home computer.

The Love room is filled with objects of prestige. Crystal chandeliers are adorned with TV sets hanging like fruits off of an ivy plant, while a cello gives off a brilliant violet-pink glow. All these static visual images stir up emotions of passion and nostalgia.

The grandiose of the last room is a good indicator of the scale of performances Paik was known to give. Placed in the center is the impressive Turtle, an electronic statue comprised of 166 monitors. The space surrounding it is shaped like a small Greek theater. When you take a seat on the steps, fluid hallucinogenic graphics are projected on the floor around the installation. The dizzying effects of the visuals magically give life to the turtle. In this, the “shock factor,” which Paik was insistent in using, is definitely present. As you exit, I encourage you to look down at the projections as you leave the room—it will heighten your levels of interaction.

By: Chuljunsung

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