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Paik Nam-june retrospective to open in Amsterdam

Paik Nam-june, “TV-Buddha” (1974) (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam collection)
Paik Nam-june, “TV-Buddha” (1974) (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam collection)

Video art pioneer Paik Nam-june’s retrospective exhibition will open Friday at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the second stop of the exhibition’s international tour.

Titled “The Future is Now,” the show will feature more than 200 works by the artist, including those in the museum’s collection. The exhibition will run through Aug. 23.

The major retrospective exhibition of Paik is on a two-year international tour, starting at the Tate Modern in London. It will travel to the US and Singapore, following the showing in Amsterdam. The exhibition was co-curated by Lee Sook-kyung, senior curator at the Tate Modern and curator Rudolf Frieling at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). 

Poster of “The Future is Now” (Korea Foundation)
Poster of “The Future is Now” (Korea Foundation)

Paik Nam-june, who was born in Seoul in 1932 and died in 2006, expanded art medium to television in the early 1960s at a time when it was a newly emerging media. He emphasized positive functions of the new technology in a witty and playful way in his media art, implying that the technology, nature and humankind can go together and that the new technology would foster communication across the globe.

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam has four works of Paik in its collection, including “TV-Buddha” that the museum collected in 1974. It held Paik’s first solo exhibition in 1977.

“For the Stedelijk Museum, this is an important exhibition because Paik had a long relationship with us,” said Leontine Coelewij, curator at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, who is in charge of the exhibition.

The retrospective exhibition includes a recreation of “Sistine Chapel” for which the artist was awarded the Golden Lion for the German Pavilion at the 1993 Venice Biennale. The work, recreated for the first time in 26 years, was also shown at the earlier Tate Modern retrospective of Paik.

The exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is supported by the Korea Foundation, a Foreign Ministry affiliate engaged in promoting public diplomacy.

By Park Yuna (