Nam June Paik discovered the potential of video as a new art form, pioneering its development through his work. Paik ranks among those artists who have built an international reputation for Korea by establishing unassailable status in the highest echelons of the global art world. His avant-garde nature is demonstrated by his ongoing transformations, from composer, to performance artist, to video artist. Paik’s broad knowledge of Eastern and Western history and philosophy, and his spirit of scientific inquiry, fusing cutting-edge technology and art, only added further depth and breadth to his oeuvre. With his nomadic lifestyle, Paik crossed every boundary; there is a truly universal quality to his artistic philosophy of reconciling realms without destroying their respective values or characteristics. But above all, Paik’s works preserved a certain Korean sentiment that was deeply lodged in his soul. For Koreans who share this sentiment, then, discovering the fundamental qualities of Paik’s work is a fulfilling experience. It is in this context that the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art has launched a web project to deliver diverse interpretations of Paik’s work, offering a deeper understanding of his oeuvre, and to honor his artistic achievements and dedication.
Here, we present new interpretations and statements from scholars, curators, artistic collaborators and gallerists who have long studied Paik, along with archive materials. In the words of Paik: “100 year ago, Nietzsche said God was dead. Today, I say paper is dead.” It is our hope that the on-line catalogue based on this declaration will function as public land, accessible to all, and as a communal asset.
© National Museum of Moden and Contemporary Art, Korea, 2020
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