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Nam June Paik, TV Buddha
Date/ 1974(2002)
Artist(Credit Line)/ NAM JUNE PAIK
Credit Line/ Courtesy of NAM JUNE PAIK ART CENTER
Material/ media Installation
statue of Buddha, TV monitor, closed-circuit camera; color-silent,
variable installation


Nam June Paik produced several versions of his work titled TV Buddha, which describes Buddha watching TV. In this installation work housed by the Nam June Paik Art Center, Buddha is watching his own real-time image on a TV screen taken by a closed-circuit camera. The scene raises a laugh at first glance, because Buddha, the truth seeker representing oriental wisdom, watches TV, the mass medium representing modern civilization, or because he seems like sinking into narcissism fascinated by his image on the screen. On the other hand, the work shows Buddha introspecting himself by watching himself on TV, presenting a serious topic of self-examination. During an exhibition in Cologne in 1974, Paik took the Buddha’s place in a monk’s habit. What is most important in this work, however, is that the audience will appear on the TV screen when they lean toward the screen to watch what Buddha sees. This is what Paik sought—an electronic environment that is unclosed and attracts participation of the audience.
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Korea Open Government License
Korea Open Government License
Attribution (BY), Non-commercial (NC), No Derivative Works (ND)

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