…In 2 weeks I will be 45. It is time for Archeology of Avantgarde. I lived in Korea in the 40’s, where only available informations were from Japanese books printed before world War II. Therefore it was great luck that I heard the name of Arnold Schoenberg in 1947 or so. He immediately interested me, because he was written as a devil or the most extreme avantgarde. However there were no record or scores of Schoenberg available in Korea in 1947, except for a pirate edition of his op 33 a piano piece. It took 2 or 3 years of desperate struggle to find only available record, which was released in the pre-war Japan, Verklarte Nacht. I will not forget forever the exitement of holding this fragile 78 RPM record in my hand like a jewel from Egyptian tomb. And I cannot forget the disappointment of this record, which was purely a Wagnerian Quatsch.
Korean war came soon after.
25 years after this experience I found the same record of Schoenberg in a flea market in New York. I played this record 4 times slower (on 16 RPM) in a Merce Cunningham dance event. Merce smiled and said: “You improved Schoenberg”. Hamburg 2/7/1977 Nam June Paik (liner notes).
B-side has grey/black art by Nam June Paik. Hand numbered and signed by the artist on the record label. Edition of 100 copies.
Nam June Paik’s works are fascinating me currently, and this audible piece is my favorite so far on the disc I have, Works. 1958-1979. As Paik plays piano and intermittently hums, the smooth atmosphere is interrupted by savage destruction of sculptures, courtesy of Takis. The balance is radically altered regularly but never falls into the self-parody that surely is possible within the avant-garde. The other longform piece, “Prepared Piano for Merce Cunningham,” might take more digestion, but between this and the small collages of TV and radio sounds, I think this disc is becoming my favorite audio artifact of Fluxus, standing alongside (or perhaps above) Charlotte Moorman’s oeuvre.
The founder of video art is celebrated in this thought-provoking exhibition
This year for the Edinburgh International Festival, Talbot Rice plays host to Transmitted Live: Nam June Paik Resounds: a celebration of Paik’s work that marks the 50th anniversary of his debut solo exhibition at the Galerie Parnass in Germany.
Paik is widely regarded as the founder of video art and, as this exhibition makes clear, he was a man who was obsessed with combining television and contemporary art. ‘Technology’ is the theme of the Edinburgh International Festival 2013 and this exhibition not only follows this theme, it defines it through Paik’s bizarre television and musical instrument assemblages.
This show is an audible and visual feast, filled with Japanese Pepsi adverts and more TV screens than you could possibly imagine. Paik’s work takes inspiration from the radical Fluxus movement – famous for blending different artistic media in the 1960s – and from the experimental music of John Cage. Unmistakably ’60s-inspired, Paik’s work is jarring and trippy: his video works contrast combinations of classical music with white noise and intense bangs and thuds.
1932 - 2006 Paik was one of the pioneers of video art, and he was almost the first artist to ever use televisions in his artwork. He studied music and aesthetics in Japan and was very interested in music of chance creation i.e not traditional, conventional music. He was influenced greatly by…
Nam June Paik’s achievements in bringing technology into art outshine those of any other artist. He was also the first to use television in an artwork, an event whose 50th anniversary the EIF celebrates in a major show. Paul Dale assesses Paik’s legacy…
Like so many radical Asian artists of his generation, the original video freak, composer and cultural terrorist / spiritualist Nam June Paik was born into wealth. As Korea was being defiled by Japanese occupation in the 1930s, in preparation for the encroaching war, Paik was being privately educated in Seoul, Hong Kong and finally the ancient shogunate seat of Kamakura near Tokyo. This town-temple of Zen, this heartland of Buddhism, was to leave a profound mark on Paik and his art. But it was his subsequent studies of humanities at Tokyo University and a dissertation on Arnold Schoenberg’s music that made it possible for him to study aesthetics, specialising in European philosophy and modern music, at the universities of Munich and Cologne.