Paik Nam-june explained: ‘Marcel Duchamp achieved everything in every field except for video art. He created a large entrance and an extremely small exit. The small exit is video art. When we take the exit, we are out of the scope of influence of Marcel Duchamp.’
The NJP Art Center, located at 10 Paik Nam-june Avenue, Sanggal-dong 85-beonji, Yongin Giheung-gu, Gyeonggi Province is a creative space, wherein it is possible to practice the ‘mediation of endless potential unfolded outside the exit of Duchamp’. As a space of ‘introspective anarchy of infinite light and life’, the NJP Art Center aims to become a venue for the ‘escape from enlightenment’, going beyond enlightenment. Paik Nam-june, who was well versed in aesthetics and music, rather than the figurative arts, discovered a new ‘exit’ by combining electronic music and happenings. He didn’t regard video and television, with their great disseminative power, or communication networks, as a means for communicating messages, but as an explosion of time, instead creating a space for mandala-based televisuals, and for participation by the public where ‘consilience’ among heterogeneous fields can take place.
Inheriting the spiritual legacies of Paik Nam-june, the NJP Art Center will expand the possibilities of creating new media for information and communication in the information age, and create a new space for cultural participation from aesthetic, ethical, and political perspectives. The center aims at expanding effective, creative consumption by encouraging reflections on the aspects of human existence that are still involuntary and lack freedom. The center aspires to become a space for cultural mediation that expands the space of freedom’s activities throughout the globe.
Paik Nam-june's Biography
Paik Nam-june (Hangul/Hanja: 백남준/白南準; Born: July 20, 1932 – Died: January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the founder of video art. He was married to the video artist Shigeko Kubota in 1965. Paik is credited with an early usage (1974) of the term "electronic super highway" in application to telecommunications.
Born in Seorin-dong, Seoul Jongno-gu in 1932, the youngest of five siblings, Paik had 2 older brothers and 2 older sisters. His father, Paik Nak-seung owned a major textile manufacturing firm. As he was growing up, he was trained as a classical pianist. In 1950, Paik and his family had to flee from their home in Korea, during the Korean War. His family first fled to Hong Kong, but later moved to Japan. Six years later he graduated from the University of Tokyo where he wrote a thesis on the composer Arnold Schoenberg.
Paik then moved to Germany to study music history with composer Thrasybulos Georgiades at Munich University. While studying in Germany, Paik met the composers Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage and the conceptual artists Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell who inspired him to work in the field of electronic art.
Paik's first exhibition, entitled "Exposition of Music - Electronic Television", was held in 1963 at Galerie Parnass in Wuppertal, Germany. A retrospective of Paik's work was held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the spring of 1982. Major retrospectives of Paik's work have been organized by Kölnischer Kunstverein (1976), Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris (1978), Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1982), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1989), Kunsthalle Basel (1991) and National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul (1992). A final retrospective of his work was held in 2000 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, with the commissioned site-specific installation Modulation in Sync (2000) integrating the unique space of the museum into the exhibition itself. This coincided with a downtown gallery showing of video artworks by his wife Shigeko Kubota, mainly dealing with his recovery from a stroke he had in 1996.
In 2011, an exhibition centered around Paik's video sculpture One Candle, Candle Projection (1988-2000) opened at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Press Release: First Nam June Paik Exhibition at National Gallery of Art, Washington, Includes Most Ambitious Installation to Date of "One Candle, Candle Projection" National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Another retrospective was mounted at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2012-2013. As a leading expert in Paik’s work, art historian John G. Hanhardt was the curator for three landmark exhibitions devoted to the artist, the ones at the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Paik's work also appeared in important group exhibitions such as São Paulo Biennale (1975), Whitney Biennial (1977, 1981, 1983, 1987, and 1989), Documenta 6 and 8 (1977 and 1987), and Venice Biennale (1984 and 1993).
Given its largely antiquated technology, Paik's oeuvre poses a unique conservation challenge. In 2006, Nam June Paik's estate asked a group of museums for proposals on how each would use the archive. Out of a group that included the Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, it chose the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The archive includes Paik’s early writings on art history, history and technology; correspondence with other artists and collaborators like Charlotte Moorman, John Cage, and the German artist Wolf Vostell; and a complete collection of videotapes used in his work, as well as production notes, television work, sketches, notebooks, models and plans for videos. It also covers early-model televisions and video projectors, radios, record players, cameras and musical instruments, toys, games, folk sculptures and the desk where he painted in his SoHo studio.
Many of Paik's early works and writings are collected in a volume edited by Judson Rosebush titled Nam June Paik: Videa 'n' Videology 1959–1973, published by the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, in 1974. In 1996, Paik had a stroke, which paralyzed his left side; he used a wheelchair the last decade of his life. Paik died January 29, 2006, in Miami, Florida, due to complications from his stroke.