Nam June Paik review – encounters with a true visionary
Tate Modern, London
A teeming retrospective of the Korean-American artist spans half a century, from Fluxus and Nixon to Bowie and MTV
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Tate Modern leans into its avant garde edge with this big, pleasurable sweep through Korean-born international artist Nam June Paik’s career. Paik was born in 1932 and died in 2006. Living and working in Japan, Germany and the US, he explored music, film, performance, theatre and the media in a long career notable for his collaborations with longstanding pals including Joseph Beuys, musician John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham.
Initially, Paik was interested in chance, malfunction and accidental breakage. In the 1960s he doctored old pianos so that playing them would result in clanking and dud notes, while in Zen for Wind in 1963 he strings random objects from a plank so hitting them produces different sounds. These early works have a charming hint of Pritt Stick, yellowing paper and unintended rust, yet even so there are dashes of sophisticated invention. In Random Access, users can run a receptor over bits of magnetic tape stuck to the wall to produce chopped-up, distorted sounds.Continue reading...
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