If you have any interest in video art and find yourself in the North West of England from the middle of December, make sure you head over to Tate Liverpool, in collaboration with FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and check out the Nam June Paik exhibition, which will include around ninety pieces of art and some astonishing work with televisions and video.
Nam June Paik was a Korean-born American artist widely regarded as the first ever video artist – the Tate Liverpool website celebrates him “as the inventor of media art.” He studied the history of music in the 1950′s, meeting abstract music luminaries Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage along the way and these meetings showed the direction his work which took on a distinctly experimental edge.
Throughout the four decades that followed, Paik’s projects combined audio, visual and performance and he became fascinated with the media of television and video, creating major works that included making a playable cello out of three stacked TV sets, constructing a ‘video synthesizer’ and building a media tower out of over a thousand monitors amongst many, many others.
Sadly, Nam June Paik suffered from a stroke in 1996 and was confined to a wheelchair, although this did not stop him from picking up a Kyoto Arts Prize in 1998 and a National Arts Club Award in 2000. He passed away from natural causes in 2006.
Along with his contemporaries, Paik continually broke new ground that predated and paved the way for everything from the graphics in music videos and MTV in the ’80s, through video artists such as Chris Cunningham, to the modern day VJ or glitch artist – Paik’s influence seems to have been everywhere in modern culture for decades.
The full line-up at the Tate Liverpool and FACT has yet to be finalised, but the press release promises famous works such as ‘TV Buddha’, ‘Video’ Fish, early music performances and large-scale video installations. You can see a little of what to expect from the video below, care of Vernissage TV.
The Nam June Paik Exhibition runs from 17 December 2010 until 13 March 2011. You can find out more about the artist at the Paik Studios site.