Transmitted Live: Nam June Paik Resounds celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Korean artist's first solo exhibition. Paik moved freely between art and technology, often blurring the two together making for striking and explosive art that shocked the world at the time His rigorous experimentation with circuits, wires and tools, led to ground breaking discoveries, making him the father of technological art.
This show is a combination of his art pieces and documentaries, both video and image, showing his progress through the years. It enables us to see the method behind the madness. Music plays a large role in Paik's work and the exhibition features music from the Beatles, Beethoven and Schubert. The cello, piano and violin are also innovatively incorporated into his designs.
When you first enter the exhibition you are overwhelmed by Paik's work. You find yourself lost in the technical world of Paik as you navigate through colour screens showing dancers, cellos made out of televisions and robots out of radios.
However, when you go upstairs onto the balcony and look over the gallery, you gain understanding and appreciation for his genius. A thought-provoking, thrilling experience, not to be missed.
First impressions of this exhibition, at the Talbot Rice Gallery, are of confusion. Unless one is familiar with Paik's unique artistic style, it can take a moment to process. Once acclimatised, however, the beauty of his work, sculptures scattered about the first room and videos projected onto the walls, can be taken in.
Paik's Participation TV, involving the interaction through sound of the viewer with what can be seen on a screen, is both curious and enjoyable to explore.
Particularly interesting is the inclusion of tapes and letters from Paik, detailing the 'method behind the madness' and giving insight into the man himself. As this exhibition is a 50th anniversary celebration of his first, not simply collecting his work, this seemed appropriate.
In his own time he was too revolutionary and unorthodox, but to a modern audience the opposite effect is achieved; the fusion of music, visual art and technology is commonplace, now, and so much of the impact is lost. His creations are weird and wonderful, are still striking visually, and his ideas were ingenious, perceptive of future developments - for his time. Yet the true impact of his work is lost on a world that has been shaped by technologies and ideas that were unheard of in the 60s.
While worth visiting, for both the - albeit also strange - mesmerising nature of his videos and the historical significance of his work, the time in which the ideas behind his work would have most impact is past.
South Korean artist Nam June Paik (1932-2006) is considered to be the founder of video art. Transmitted Live is a unique exhibition showing both Paik's more contemporary work and traditional pieces too in a manner that is both clear and tidy, essential to these daring pieces of work on display.
A piece that stands out for me is the TV Cello situated in the middle amongst all the other vibrant and boldly coloured video works. This piece manages to stand out against 2 large video screenings on the wall with one continuously playing classical music and being made out clear plastic television sets in which you can look through the TV Cello and see other works but that hasn't stopped it being the piece everyone flocks to first upon entering.
Paik's brightly coloured installments are heavy on the eyes and for its time you can understand why this was so avant garde but most of his works contains old fashioned TV's and today it's hard to appreciate it to its full potential the impact his work had when we are so used to the equipment used. The exhibition is aimed at people who are interested in Paik's work and who would know more about him and that style of work, as it is quite difficult to understand the meaning behind his work without background information however, if you're nearby it is worth it to go and have a look at this interesting and very different exhibition.
Lily May Braunholtz
Immediately walking into the Talbot Rice Gallery, the bright lights, music and flickering videos of Nam Paik's exhibition contrasted greatly with the traditional Victorian Edinburgh Old College in which the gallery is found.
The first room was striking with its white walls filled with two large projections of different videos, one showing ballet dancers gracefully moving along with special media effects following and counteracting their movements. The other video shows swirls of colour and patterns, while also showing glimpses of an orchestra playing Mozart, which dominated the acoustics of the room.
The beauty of this art was easier to appreciate from a balcony on the floor above, where though more isolated from the action below, it became easier to decipher the strong themes of classical music and dance, merged together with modern technological used as both part of the art and the message. Moving through the gallery, exhibits of Paik's work were displayed along with small videos, posters and notes that try to explain and document the development of Paik's work.
Though much of the technology and moving images displayed were conventional, their juxtapositions would have been striking if not so by today's scope of visual arts and media. The exhibit acted as a historical retrospective, allowing us to see how influential and different Paik's work must have been to other artists of the time.
Nam June Paik, a man famously known for his radical exploits within the visual arts, certainly had some obscure ideas.
Television sets hanging from the ceiling, attached to several wires, is the last thing anyone would expect to see upon entering an art exhibit. Yet, the ever-changing images flashing across the screens, are strangely appealing because it is rare for anyone else to see the exact same thing as you, making the viewing so much more personal.
However, known for his individuality, and his desire to humanise technology, Paik certainly did not disappoint. Perhaps the most interesting pieces of work were the numerous robots made with old radios and TV cassettes, which were pleasing to the eye with their delightful charm and in an essence, their sense of familiarity. These lovely pieces of art really highlight how technology is becoming so important in our lives, that soon we may rely on it completely.
Despite this though, in the next room things weren't so delightful. The whole atmosphere changes as soon as you step into the big, empty hall, with only a screen running a sequence of visuals on, while eerie music plays in the background. This dark hall, therefore felt quite isolating and disconcerting in comparison to the much more friendly robots.
And yet, while this type of art is not for everyone, it is something worth seeing and experiencing. The concepts that Paik embraces are so unique that not seeing his work would be a real missed opportunity.