The Art Gallery of New South Wales' fascinating presentation of acclaimed multi-media artist Nam June Paik coincides with a major installation of the artist's work on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House as part of Sydney Festival 2003.
Born in South Korea in 1932, and now living in New York, Paik is regarded as a visionary pioneer in performance, video art and multimedia presentation. Paik's life in art grew out of politics and anti-art movements of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. His art reflects long held beliefs in a united global society, where past and present are in constant dialogue and where there is no division between art and technology.
Presented in the new Asian galleries, one of the main focuses of the exhibition is Paikís now legendary visit to Australia in 1976.
"This visit by Paik in 1976, was for many their first introduction to performance and video art, it was quite revolutionary," said Jackie Menzies, Head Curator of Asian Art.
During this 1976 visit, accompanied by cellist and artistic collaborator Charlotte Moorman, Paik presented a series of artworks in Sydney and Adelaide. These acclaimed avant-garde events included Cello Sonata in which Moorman played her cello suspended from the outside roof of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Also at the Art Gallery was a series of performances with Moorman playing Paik's compositions including TV Bra for Living Sculpture and the now celebrated Concerto for TV Cello and Video Tapes. The exhibition traces these performances through video and photography.
The exhibition comprises a selection of electronic and sculptural work by Paik held in private Australian collections including the actual TV Cello played by Moorman, the Art Gallery of New South Wales' new acquisition Buddha Game, as well as a re-installation of Paik's spectacular TV Garden.
This exhibition perfectly complements Sydney Festivalís presentation of Paik's major installation on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House, a selection of 16 cars from 32 Cars for the 20th Century play Mozart's Requiem Quietly along with Transmission, a neon and laser tower made in collaboration with New Yorker Norman Ballard.