Nam-June Paik (Korean/American, 1932 - 2006)

Nam June Paik


Nam-June Paik was born in Seoul, Korea in 1932 and is now an American citizen. Paik has been a central figure in avant-garde art throughout his career, and his innovative work in the fields of video art, performance art, installation art, satellite transmission, painting and music composition has had a profound influence on contemporary art.

After his family fled Korea in 1950, he studied philosophy, history and music in Tokyo, moving to Germany to study music theory at the University in Munich and the Freiburg conservatory, where he discovered electronic music and met the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who became one of his major teachers.

Paik's first solo exhibition, in Wuppertal, Germany in 1963, introduced his "adapted" television sets and launched a new era in 20th century art. His work incorporating art and technology soon made him a major international artist. Paik's recent work is a series of monumental video installations.

For the 1988 Seoul Olympics, he created the tower "The More the Better," an installation comprising 1003 video monitors. "Fin de Siécle II" (1989) shown at New York's Whitney Museum as part of an exhibition on art and media culture, used a wall of monitors to present popular culture. At the 1993 Venice Biennial, where he represented Germany, Paik's installation "Electronic Super Highway" received the prize for best pavillion. Another recent monumental work, "Megatron," a video wall of more than 200 monitors, was shown in 1997 at the Guggenheim Museum-Soho in New York.

Timeline Biography

June 20th, 1932
Born in Seoul (Korea), the fifth son of a textile manufacturer

1950
The Paik family flees from the Korean War, first to Hong Kong, and later to
Japan

1956
Paik graduates from the University of Tokyo, concluding his studies of the
History of Art and the History of Music with a thesis on Arnold Schonberg

1956-58
Studies the History of Music at Munich University; meets Karlheinz
Stockhausen; studies Composition at Freiburg Conservatory

1958-63
Meets John Cage; works in the Studio fur elektronische Musik at WDR,
Cologne

1959-62
Has appearances with pieces of his action music; Stockhausen's "Originale"
is performed in Cologne

1963
Participates in "Fluxus. Internationale Festspiele neuester Musik",
Wiesbaden; "Exposition of Musik / Electronic Television", the first
exhibition including TV monitors, is shown at Galerie Parnass, Wuppertal

1963-64
Travels to Japan; meets Shuya Abe; experiments with electromagnets and
color television; visits New York, collaborates with Charlotte Moorman

1965
First solo exhibition "Electronic Art" in the USA at Galeria Bonino, New
York; buys the first portable video recorder

1966-69
First multi-monitor installations; works with magnetically distorted TV
recordings; "Electronic Opera No. 1" is performed at the live program "The
Medium is the Medium", GBH-TV, Boston

1969-70
With Shuya Abe, constructs the video synthesizer

1971
Works at WNET's TV lab, New York

1976
Retrospective at Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne

Since 1979
Chair at Staatliche Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf

1982
Retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

January 1st, 1984
Satellite broadcast of "Good Morning Mr. Orwell" from the Centre Pompidou,
Paris, and a WNET-TV studio, New York

1987
Elected a member of the Akademie der Kunste, Berlin
1988
Erects a media tower, "The more the better", from 1003 monitors for the
Olympic Games at Seoul

1990
"Video Arbor" is put up in Philadelphia as a sculpture for the public
sector

1991-92
Double exhibition "Video Time - Video Space" at Kunsthalle Basel and
Kunsthalle Zurich, subsequently shown in Dusseldorf and Vienna

Receives Goslar Kaiserringes Award
1993
Nam June Paik with Hans Haake represents Germany in XLV Venice Biennale
d' Arte
1998
Receives Kyoto Award
2000
Receives National Arts Club Award
Retrospective The Worlds of Nam June Paik, opens at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York then travels to Ho-Am Art Gallery and the Rodin Gallery, Seoul Korea
Numerous grants and awards from, inter alia, the Guggenheim Museum, the
Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Film Institute; Will Grohmann
Award, Goslar Emperor's Ring, UNESCO's Picasso Medal

Paik lives and works in New York, teaches at Staatliche Kunstakade­mie,
Dusseldorf, and has a second home in Bad Kreuznach

Artist's Gallery


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