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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Nam June Paik


Knowledge can be gained at any age. After having a detailed study on topics there are things unknown to us. So, we at Abirpothi present before you the lesser-known facts about artists around the world.

Nam June Paik

I want to shape the TV screen canvas

as precisely as Leonardo,

as freely as Picasso,

as colorfully as Renoir,

as profoundly as Mondrian,

as violently as Pollock

and as lyrically as Jasper Johns.

-Nam June Paik

Nam June Paik, called the “Father of Video Art”, was a Korean-born multi-media artist who pioneered the use of electronic media in art. Paik graduated from Tokyo University with a degree in Aesthetics and revolutionised the way electronics could be incorporated into ‘art’. Paik refuted the traditionality of artistic mediums and his artworks incorporated the use of televisions, video monitors, and other devices. Technology was Paik’s best friend and he explored the dynamic relationship that technology was forming with human elements.  Paik was also known for his collaborations with other artists, including Merce Cunningham, and Joseph Beuys. He was awarded numerous honours during his lifetime, including the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy in 1998.

11 lesser-known facts about Nam June Paik
  1. Paik remained a practicing Buddhist throughout his life and never smoked or drank alcohol.
  2. His famous piece “TV Buddha” explores the relationship between technology and spirituality, featuring a statue of Buddha sitting in front of a television set showing a live feed of the statue itself.

    TV Buddha by Paik
    Courtesy- Time Out
  3. The Fluxus Manifesto
    Courtesy- Wiki Commons

    Paik was a member of the international art movement Fluxus, which included figures like Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys, and George Brecht. This movement rejected traditional forms of music and theater, engaging in experimental formats.

  4. Paik used a wheelchair for the last decade of his life and was unable to walk without help. This was because a sudden stroke had left the artist’s left side paralyzed.
  5. Paik’s father was revealed to be a Chinilpa, or a Korean traitor, who had collaborations with the Japanese during Korea’s occupation.
  6. He has previously collaborated with American avant-garde composer John Cage.
  7. Paik was an avid fan of music and wrote his thesis on the composer Arnold Schoenberg.

    A shot from “Good Morning, Mr. Orwell”
    Courtesy- MoMA
  8. The artist’s international satellite installation called “Good Morning, Mr. Orwell” recorded an audience of 25 million viewers worldwide during its broadcast.

    Cello Sonata No. 1 for Adults Only
  9. Paik and his performance partner were arrested for public indecency during a radical performance in 1965. His partner, cellist Charlotte Moorman, was playing a musical score composed by Paik called Cello Sonata No. 1 for Adults Only topless.
  10. Paik coordinated a satellite link-up in 1988 where David Bowie’s performance was broadcasted over many countries, including Japan, France, and Brazil.
  11. Paik was a close friend of Nobuyuki Idei who would go on to become the President of Sony.


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