17 October 2019 – 9 February 2020
Supported by Terra Foundation for American Art, with additional support from Tate Patrons
Open daily 10.00 – 18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday
For public information call +44(0)20 7887 8888, visit tate.org.uk or follow @Tate #NamJunePaik
This year, Tate Modern will present a major exhibition of the work of visionary Korean artist Nam June Paik. Renowned for his pioneering use of emerging technologies, Paik’s innovative yet playfully entertaining work remains an inspiration for artists, musicians and performers across the globe. Organised by Tate Modern and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, this will be the most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work ever staged in the UK, bringing together over 200 works - from early compositions and performance to video and large-scale television installations, in a mesmerising riot of light and sound.
Nam June Paik (1932-2006) developed a collaborative and interdisciplinary practice that foresaw the importance of mass media and new technologies, coining the phrase ‘electronic superhighway’ to predict the future of communication in an internet age. He has become synonymous with the electronic image through a prodigious output of manipulated TV sets, live performances, global television broadcasts, single-channel videos, and video installations.
To introduce Paik’s radical world, Tate Modern will open the exhibition with TV Garden 1974/2002. The large-scale installation explores diminishing distinctions between the natural and technological, comprising dozens of television sets that appear to grow from within a garden of lush foliage. Paik’s first robot work Robot K-456 1964 will also be on display and a room will be dedicated to screening four of Paik’s ground-breaking satellite videos. Broadcast throughout the 1980s these ambitious works feature icons of popular culture including Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie and Lou Reed, defining the ‘MTV aesthetic’ of the era.
The artist also played a pivotal role in Fluxus, an international network of avant-garde artists, composers, designers and poets, through the cross-germination of radical aesthetics and experimentation. Born in South Korea, but living and working in Japan, Germany and the USA, he collaborated with a global community of artists at the cutting-edge of art practice. The show will highlight key creative partnerships with celebrated composer John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham and Joseph Beuys. Paik’s collaboration with cellist Charlotte Moorman was also a deeply significant one for both artists, who developed a repertoire of provocative performances incorporating Paik’s television sculptures within elaborate costumes and props. The exhibition will include TV Cello 1971 and TV Bra for Living Sculpture 1969, alongside videos and photography of their performances.
Tate Modern will partially restage Paik’s pivotal first solo exhibition, Exposition of Music - Electronic Television. Prepared pianos and musical instruments will be shown with examples of the artist’s earliest manipulated televisions and interventions into live broadcast. Further highlights will include seminal works that demonstrate the influence of Zen, Taoism and wider Buddhist philosophies in Paik’s approach to art and technology, including TV Buddha 1974 and One Candle 1989.
The exhibition will culminate with the dazzling installation Sistine Chapel 1993, recreated for the first time since he was awarded the Golden Lion for the German pavilion at the Venice Biennale over 25 years ago.
Nam June Paik is curated by Dr Sook-Kyung Lee, Senior Curator, International Art (Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational), Tate, and Rudolf Frieling, Curator of Media Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, with Valentina Ravaglia (Tate) and Andrea Nitsche-Krupp (SFMOMA). The exhibition is organised by Tate Modern and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and will tour to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as well as venues in the United States of America, the Netherlands and Singapore. The exhibition at Tate Modern will be accompanied by a catalogue from Tate Publishing and a programme of talks and events in the gallery.
ABOUT THE TERRA FOUNDATION FOR AMERICAN ART
The Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. Recognising the importance of experiencing original works of art, the foundation provides opportunities for interaction and study, beginning with the presentation and growth of its own art collection in Chicago. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research and educational programmes. Implicit in such activities is the belief that art has the potential both to distinguish cultures and to unite them.