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Tate Liverpool Announces First Major Retrospective of Nam June Paik
Nam June Paik, ‘Route 66’, 1993, Installation, 2 channels, approx. 130 x 150 x 120 cm. Mixing technique: motorbike, monitors © Nam June Paik Estate, New York, 2010/ collection Peter Kolb. Photo: Peter Kolb.

LIVERPOOL.- Video artist, performer and composer Nam June Paik (1932-2006) was one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century and is widely considered to be the first video artist. From 17 December 2010 - 13 March 2011 Tate Liverpool, in collaboration with FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), presents the first major retrospective of Paik’s work in the UK. Displaying works from all phases of his career, many shown in the UK for the first time, the exhibition traces the artist’s avant-garde and experimental spirit.

Born in South Korea, Paik began his career as a composer in Japan and Germany, later developing an interest in electronic art and avant-garde movements including the Fluxus group. Influenced by and working alongside artists such as John Cage, Joseph Beuys and Karlheinz Stockhausen, his early years in Germany proved to be a formative experience for his practice. Paik continued his experiments in performance and video art after moving to New York in 1964. His collaboration with cellist Charlotte Moorman was particularly significant in the context of the New York avant-garde.

Characterised by an inventive use of technology, Paik’s signature style has been established through mesmerising closed-circuit video installations and manipulated TV works. Covering the diverse yet coherent phases of his career, Tate Liverpool’s exhibitionoffers a definitive look at Paik’s body of work, from the scores of early music performances and TV works, to robot sculptures and large-scale video installations. In the late 1960s Paik and Japanese video engineer Shuya Abe developed a sophisticated method of manipulating video images with the invention of the ‘Video-Synthesiser’, which revolutionised video art by distorting the colour and shapes of images on TV screens. Paik also undertook public broadcasting and satellite TV projects that were revolutionary in demonstrating the power of decentralised public media, and his experimental use of popular music and visual images are recognised as an early precursor to the ‘MTV generation’.

The exhibition also showcases a rich selection of documentary materials from Paik’s performances and early exhibitions, including Exposition of Music – Electronic Television, the artist’s first solo exhibition at the Galerie Parnass (Wuppertal, Germany) in 1963. Paik’s influential collaborations are also explored in depth, including his friendship with artist Joseph Beuys, and its wider significance in both artists’ practice.

Focusing on Paik's innovative use of creative technology, FACT will showcase Laser Cone for the first time in the UK: a major laser installation representing Paik's 'post-video’ period and the culmination of his continuous experiments with new technology and media. The presentation will also include a number of single-channel video works, demonstrating the artist’s interests in the digital manipulation of visual images as well as the possibilities of satellite technology in extending the physical realm of video art. FACT’s display concludes the retrospective both in terms of its chronology and its conceptual genealogy.

Nam June Paik is initiated and developed by Tate Liverpool and museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf, curated by Sook-Kyung Lee and Susanne Rennert. The exhibition is presented in Liverpool by Tate Liverpool in collaboration with FACT, with curatorial support from Karen Newman.

Museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf, will present the exhibition from 11 September – 21 November 2010.

Tate Liverpool | Nam June Paik | Sook-Kyung Lee | Susanne Rennert |

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