Nam June Paik, Art Soli(d)(t)aire, 1995
color photo 48 x 35 x 1.5 cm
NAM JUNE PAIK
*1932 Seoul (KR); † 2006 in Miami (US)
Nam June Paik studied music and art history, philosophy and composition in Tokyo and West Germany. In addition to his close contact with the vanguard West Germany music scene impulses for his music experiments of the late 1950s from the U.S. composer John Cage, a figure of seminal importance for Fluxus. Paik performed pieces such as Hommage à John Cage (1959) or Etude for Piano (1960), which featured the use of everyday objects as sound-makers and eccentric actions, in the Cologne atelier of artist Mary Bauermeister, where in 1960/1961 works by other (future) Fluxus artists were also performed. At the first European Fluxus festivals of 1962, Paik played a conspicuous role as a main contact, co-organiser, performer and composer. While in the context of early Fluxus Paik is best known today for smashing a violin (One for Violin Solo, 1962) or drawing a line with his head dipped in tomato sauce (La Monte Young’s Composition 1960 #10 [to Bob Morris] in Paik’s 1962 performance Zen for Head), he also conceived purely imaginary proposals such as „Creep into the vagina of a live female whale!“ (Danger Music for Dick Higgins).
A pioneer of video art, Paik experimented with a range of contemporary technologies since the early to mid-1960s. Most extensively, he experimented with the television – a vast area of activity including interactive TV screens responding to surrounding sounds, spectacular multi-monitor installations and even small monitor worn as a brasserie by the cellist Charlotte Moorman, with whom Paik had a long-standing collaboration in the field of (music) performance. From 1979 until 1995 Paik taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf.
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