Young Penis Symphony, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne
Nam June Paik wrote a series of scores related to the subject of sex and also made performances of them. Young Penis Symphony (1962) is a performance in which ten men stand behind a large piece of paper placed on stage and poke their penises through it one by one. Paik took the motif from Ishihara Shintaro’s novel, Season of the Sun (1955), which broke the social taboo against sex and put an end to the postwar literary movements. The novel generated social controversy with sexual descriptions such as the male protagonist poking his penis into the paper screen of a room. While the young man in the novel wanted to see the woman next door through the hole, Paik wrote the score to make the audience witness the event of breaking the taboo against sex in the field of music. Paik knew that the scene from the novel, which caused a huge sensation and controversy, would not be accepted even in Europe, predicting that his score would be realized in around 1984. Paik had intended to show the performance in 1963 at Festum Fluxorum Fluxus: Musik und Antimusik, Das Instrumentale Theater, yet the performance could only be realized by poking fingers at the paper screen. Young Penis Symphony was finally presented in San Francisco in 1975, directed by Ken Friedman. This photograph shows the performance held at the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne in 1986.
Nam June Paik(Artist)