Tag Archives: paik


Letter to John Cage – Paik (1970)

Paik  Letter to John Cage  1970  A

Paik  Letter to John Cage  1970  B


brain growth according to Paik

“Paik wanted to build an anthropomorphic robot, because he was fascinated by the scientists’ discovery that the human brain had begun to grow after man stopped walking on all fours and had to figure out what to do with his two ‘free’ hands.”

– Wulf Herzogenrath, Hayward Gallery 1988 exhibition catalogue “Nam June Paik Video Works 1963-88”

readings to read

Television Art’s Abstract Starts – Europe circa 1944–1969

Television Art’s Abstract Starts- Europe circa 1944–1969


Nam June Paik’s Early Works in Vienna – Dieter Ronte (1982)

Dieter Ronte – Nam June Paik’s Early Works in Vienna (1982).  Originally printed the catalog of the Whitney Museum “Nam June Paik” show:  Nam June Paik by Nam June Paik , John G. Hanhardt, Whitney Museum of American Art Staff, ISBN 0874270375 (0-87427-037-5), Hardcover, Whitney Museum of American Art (1982).

  • Characterizes Paik as a musician (“studied with Wolfang Fortner“, and is like Mauricio KagelUbu Web)
  • “Paik’s objects – unlike some of the pieces by Beuys – are not matter that has passed through the hand of an action artist.  They are instruments used to turn pictures into metaphors of time and to visualize the concept of time.” G. Jappe, Die Zeit, November 26, 1976
lists media

Paik Google Timeline

Paik  Google Search  timeline


Michael Nyman – Nam June Paik, Composer (1982)

Michael Nyman – Nam June Paik, Composer (1982).  Originally printed the catalog of the Whitney Museum “Nam June Paik” show:  Nam June Paik by Nam June Paik , John G. Hanhardt, Whitney Museum of American Art Staff, ISBN 0874270375 (0-87427-037-5), Hardcover, Whitney Museum of American Art (1982).
  • ‘variability as a necessary consequence of intensity’ – Nam June Paik, interview by Gottfried Michael Koenig, in Nam June Paik: Werke, 51.
  • phases of Paik’s musical output: 
    • conventionally notated works and began in 1947 with the Korean folk-flavoured music of his youth; it continued by way of the strictly serial solo violin variations of 1953 and the non-serial String Quartet of 1955–57.  Part of
    • 1959 with Hommage à John Cage;
    • 1964 when he started his long collaboration with the cellist Charlotte Moorman.  Part of “american culture”
  • ideas of notation – mostly verbal – important aspect: Paik himself as performer
  • action music/ antimusic
  • Paik had a horror of repeating the same actions twice
  • Stockhausen on Paik: ‘sketch the actions of one evening without trying to concretize in words the important and individual elements of these moments’.
  • “‘variability as a necessary consequence of intensity” (Nam June Paik, interview by Gottfried Michael Koenig, in Nam June Paik: Werke, 51.)
  • “Americans need not be entertained every second, because they are so rich. America has in a way this very rich attitude that makes boring, long music possible. But I’m not writing boring music that much. The reason is that I come from a very poor country and I am poor. I have to entertain people every second.” (Nam June Paik, letter to Hugh Davies, 6 May 1967, collection of Hugh Davies.)
  • “Mary Bauermeister’s studio in Cologne in 1960, confronted with an onstage motorcycle with its engine left revving, and an absent Paik. After some minutes it became apparent that the perception of time passing and the expectation that something was to happen were rapidly being replaced by the perception of carbon monoxide filling the space and the expectation of asphyxiation. The engine was turned off and Paik returned some time later saying that he’d been in a bar and forgotten about the bike.” – Nyman
  • Collaborations with Moorman were technological, collaborations with Knowles were more conceptual / limited
  • Not to become overly concerned with the “what” of music – but the where/for whom/how

User Art _ Nutzerkunst – Peter Weibel (2009)

User Art _ Nutzerkunst – Peter Weibel



Avant-Garde and Technology By Leigh Landy

Avant-Garde and Technology By Leigh Landy

  • Bauhaus Music – premiered in Tokyo in 1957
  • D.T. Suzuki
  • dialectics of materialism in Paik:  criticism of commercialism in art (suggesting that Cage throw away all his works, recordings, etc.) and using technologies themselves to express this (video is expensive)
  • E-Kunst vs. U-Kunst
  • “Paik has written a piece for a deux mains performance of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C Major from the ‘Well Tempered Clavier’ where the left hand part was to be played in San Francisco and the right hand part to be played in Shanghai (1963- ‘Kalender Pop, Do ityourself-answers to LaMonte Young’)
  • “Silence, the total lack of spatial experience and the final – it works but one single time – shock of the work takes all sorts of givens out of traditional art and instrumnents.”
  • “concerning his installation Hydra buddha (1985) he refers to small images coming from its two monitors as consisting of 7,500,000 bits/second – a smashing underlining of computer technology (and waste!).”
  • Paik quote:  “On my recent trip to Tokyo I bought dozens of books about time by oriental and occidental thinkers.  On my return to New York, I found that I have no time to read them.” (Nam June Paik 1975: in Herzogenrath 1983:13)
  • dialectics of the relative and the absolute:  Why Christian vs Zen? Instead combinations (TV Cross, My Faust)





Lies are Always More Exciting than the Truth

NamJune Paik Award 2008 Fondation Corboud Internationaler Medienkunstpreis der Kunststiftung NRW

  • “In the Middle Ages«,wrote Paik to his Parisian museum colleagues,»illumination information coincided. In church windows information was transmitted as illumination.In medieval manuscripts the images were ›illuminations‹.«»Before the development of agrarian society all information had to be weightless,temporal; an audiovisual culture with dance,music,folk tales and songs,for it was impossible to carry around the written records,particularly beforethe invention of paper.”
    The conjecture of weightless information was Paik’s vehicle for transmittinghis own message, the coming era of electronic art and hence the epochalsignificance of his work.He wanted an endless kaleidoscope of video and television images. His satellite programme Good Morning Mr.Orwell of 1984 wasintended as a “multi-temporal,multi-spatial symphony.”
    – Quoted from: Nam June Paik, »Sixtina Electronica « (1986), in Nam June Paik. Video Time –Video Space, Toni Stooss and Thomas Kellein (eds.),Ostfildern-Ruit bei Stuttgart 1991,p.7
  • He claimed, for example, that in 700B C a Chineseemperor put up a reward of a million dollars for horse, on the condition that it could gallop a thousand miles per day.For three months a minister searchedthroughout the empire for such an animal, but it was found too late, havingdied the previous day. The minister, according to Paik, wept bitterly, but devised a ploy.He paid half a million for the dead horse and had to convince hisemperor – who was understandably upset by the bad news – that the entirepopulation would profit from the news about this purchase price that wouldnow spread, for everyone would believe that the search for a living horsewould be worth their while.According to Paik the impact of this Chinese legend lasted for generations.In290B C Dyang Juo Tsu noted that three such horses had been found.For Paik,who enjoyed recounting historical anecdotes,art ideally played a role like that of the sought-after Chinese horse.
  • He also proposed some »new existential forms of music«, like the Read Music to read oneself or his own personal Musical Yoga, an Omnibus Music for City in chartered buses and an environment called Étude Platonique. This melancholy piece for ten rooms was to do with the sound of a pretty girl who sat silently in one of the rooms dressed in a bikini
  • [his work] is deliberately concerned with less than we want and desire. It is the uncomfortable superficiality in his work that, like the Nam June Paik Award,encourages the search for great faith and the finding of wondrous Chinese horses.

– Lies are Always More Exciting than the Truth – Nam June Paik’s Futuristic Traditionalism by Dr. Thomas Kellein.



paik on paper – sammlung peter wenzel

Paik on paper – sammlung peter wenzel

Hans Günter Golinski:

  • to be free like a child of scruples about social practice, the preservation of decency and convention.
  • tortoise as a sign of heaven and earth as a universe
  • “when too perfect, God not amused” – NJP




Susanne Rennert – I liked it

  • in the Parnass Gallery in Wuppertal in 1963, he printed the words EXISTENTIA IST ESSENTIA, then to unite thoughts derived from Heidegger, Sartre, Montaigne, Cage, Laotse, Chen-Chu and others to yield an inspiring collage of ideas
  • “It is all a very commercial capitalistic endeavour. I don’t teach art, I teach art politics.” – Interview “Ein bißchen fleißig schadet nicht“ [a little industrious does no harm] by Susanne Rennert and Stephan von Wiese with Nam June Paik, Düsseldorf, 7 December 1995, in: Mixed Pixels, Students of Paik 1978-95, Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf im Ehrenhof 1996, p. 17.
  • The title “I liked it” refers to a saying of Paik’s reported by Tomas Schmit. It was his laconic commentary, recorded after the fact, on a spontaneous action by Joseph Beuys, who at the opening of the Exposition of Music – ElectronicTelevision demolished one of Paik’s prepared piano

Paik Katalog 210mmx270mm  1  dragged 2