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EXPostition of mythology – ELectronic technology
Period/ 2009.06.12(Fri) ~ 2009.11.08(Sun)
Venue/ Exhibition Hall 2 of Nam June Paik Art Center

The EXPosition of Mythology – ELectronic Technology explores notions of technology, mythology and religion through the perspective of Nam June Paik’s first solo exhibition in 1963, EXPosition of Music ELectronic Television. Nam June Paik’s first solo exhibition is taken as representative of the thinking and concerns Paik would later explore in his practice and represents a bridge between Eastern and Western philosophies offering an alternative perspective into how technology, mythology and religion can be understood from a more anthropological perspective.

About the Exhibition

In this 1963 exhibition, Paik presented his first experiments with televisions, his prepared pianos and several other objects that invited audience participation. Paik’s use of the exhibition space, including hanging a dead cow’s head in the entrance and making people walk around a giant balloon to enter the rest of the exhibition, highlights his emphasis the viewer’s participation and bodily experience. In addition, Paik also raised issues concerning the experience of time, media, history, and knowledge by suggesting different themes and concepts through the works created for the exhibition, the posters displayed, and the type of participation solicited to experience this show. The following were some of Paik’s themes: instruments for Zen Exercise, Objects Sonores, Sonolized Room, Kindergarten for the Old, Memories of the 20th Century, How to be satisfied with 70%, Hommage to Rudolf Augstein, Prepared WC, Fetishism of idea, Quesaisje?, Do it your…,Synchronization as a principle of indeterminate relationships, Is the time without content possible?, A study of German idiotology, among others.

For the upcoming exhibition the aim is to play with these themes, reflect on them, update them to current situations and even possibly parody some of them. Selected works will be presented alongside documentation related to different themes to emphasize the relevance and development of the concerns present in Paik’s exhibition in relation to historical, cultural and anthropological perspectives informed by a reading of the forty years that have passed since EXPosition of Music, Electronic Television.

Artists and Works
1. Nam June Paik (Seoul, 1932-2006)

Nam June Paik led a nomadic life, living in Seoul, Tokyo, Cologne, Duesseldorf, New York and Miami; and combining Eastern and Western cultures and philosophies. Actively participating in the Fluxus group, Nam June Paik worked and performed closely with the Fluxus artists as well as artists like John Cage and Joseph Beuys. His artistic practice included performances, Fluxus, electronic arts as well as Satellite TV broadcasts and Laser productions,

2. Christoph Meier (Vienna, Austria, 1980)

Christoph Meier’s work is informed both by his studio practice and his background as an architect. Often defining his work as performative sculpture, Meier questions his own role as well as the authority of the artist towards the viewer and the perception of an artwork beyond a pure formalist gesture. For Turm, Meier creates an in-situ intervention from materials found in site that bear the signs of pre-existing uses and reassembles them in an attempt to experiment with playfulness, error and self-doubt.

>3. Chul Ki Hong

Chul Ki Hong, a noise artist, improvisationist, film music artist, sound artist, offers an experimental performance and installation works by utilizing a unique attribute of turntable needles, i.e. ability to receive inputs from vibration of solid body. His first installation work called [Techtonic Mebranophonics] (2007) uses the feedback from lower frequencies, to bring about the resonance on a layer of clear glass. This work borrows the electric power supplied by the power system embedded throughout the city, then to convert or activate it in forms acoustics. The idea was conceived based on the common ground between building structures and musical instrument, which is the ‘membrane’. Just as Nam June Paik tried to maximize the effect of space in his very first private exhibition at Galerie Parnass (originally a residential building), Hong plans to capture the acoustics from the restroom space of this facility, then to amplify it to resonate with rest of space in this Art Center, via his work [Expanded Restroom] (2009).

4. Gregor Zootzky (Germany, 1971)

Zootzky has been assisting Mary Bauermeister almost since 1997, when they first met. This close interaction with Bauermeister has offered Zootzky a privileged insight into the early work of this artist and the other artists, such as Nam June Paik and John Cage, who gathered at her studio during the 60s. Known as Atelier Mary Bauermeister, the happenings that occurred there are now iconic moments of art history. Inspired by the desire to present multifaceted nature of these excitings, Zootzky is developing an animation feature dedicated the performances at Atelier Bauermeister. To be presented to the artist herself on her 75th birthday the tentatively titled ?Goin´fishin´is better then just wishin`! Hommage a Mary Bauermeister!“ will include music and sound composed by Simon Stockhausen and is funded by LVR Rheinland and Filmstiftung NRW.

5. Han Kil Ryu (Seoul, 1976)

Hangil Ryu who majored in western paintings, began his career as a keyboardist for music bands called “My sister’s Barbershop” and “Delispace”. Eventually Ryu’s interests progressed onto acoustics as a fundamental domain, and various forms of media works based on spontaneity. His works involve creating acoustic structures based on inner vibrancy of discarded items such as mainspring of a clock, typewriter and telephone. At this exhibition, Ryu calls for audiences’ participation, for his work of vibrating chair that produces varying vibrancy when a person takes a seat.

6. Honore δ’O (Oudenaarde, Belgium, 1961)

Honore δ’ O creates sculptures, videos, and installations where the components and possibilities of various scenarios coexist and the public is allowed and active and often creative role. Honore δ’ O has previously worked in Korea for the Anyang Public Art project and will continue to develop his particular methodology of creating work informed by the underlying meanings and connections which constantly merge from reality into art and vice versa in the work he will develop at the Nam June Paik Art Center.

7. Javier Tellez (Valencia, Venezuela, 1969)

Javier Tellez’s work breaks down established socio-cultural boundaries by oscillating between fiction and documentation in reinterpretations of classic material from the stage and screen. Making these boundaries visible, Tellez questions what is understand as emotional and physical ‘normality.’ In the film Oedipus Marshall (2006), Tellez stages Sophocles’ classic tragedy, Oedipus Rex, with Western costumes and Japanese masks. An abandoned gold mining town in Colorado served as the backdrop. Using interchangeable elements from our collective memory, a film came about which takes up and simultaneously breaks down familiar things. The masks and maskings in Tellez’s films operate as ambivalent elements that conceal or demystify. Destabilizing personality boundaries, these masks also symbolize the capacity for mimicry that those diagnosed as psychologically still retain.

8. Jimmie Durham (Arkansas, USA, 1940)

Jimmie Durham is a Cherokee, born in Arkansas in 1940. He is a visual artist, and also a political activist for the American Indian Movement and an essayist. Durham’s work addresses Western culture’s skepticism towards different beliefs and lifestyles through shrewd and often ironic recuperations of found forms and materials. In Smashing (2004), the artist sits behind a desk as different people place objects in front of him. To the surprise of some and indifference of others Durham proceeds to crushing the objects with a rock. Once the object is completely destroyed, Durham hands a signed and stamped sheet of blank paper to visitor and turns his attention to the next person. Stoning the Refrigerator (1996) consists of Durham throwing stones at a fridge every day for a week. Over time, this intervention directed at the object’s form simultaneously insures its status as a work of art and questions the criteria of the established aesthetic order. he pelted the object in question with stones every day for a week until its shape and appearance changed. Through action by the artist, then, something initially ephemeral takes on the status of a work of art. In Durham’s performances domestic objects including refrigerators, tables and telephones become instruments for a radically immediate challenge to the established aesthetic order.

9. Jong Woo Park (Seoul, 1958)

Before working on his own, Park Jong Woo had worked for the Korea Times as a staff news photographer for 11 years, covering major political and social issues in Korea. Since starting to work as a free-lancer, he has focused his camera to the plight of ethnic people, especially the nomads of Asia. A modern-nomad himself, Park has been roaming around the most remote regions on the globe for more than two decades, documenting the vanishing cultures of minority groups. His documentary work on the Himalayan ranges is a long-term project that has continued on for more than 20 years. His most recent works include the two projects on [Horse Caravan Route of South-West China] and [The Musk Road over Himalaya]. While in Korea, he works for The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times as assignment photographer. Park contributes words and pictures to a variety of domestic and international publications. Although specializing in photography, he also produces video documentaries. His films frequently appears in major Korean TV channels such as KBS and SBS as well as French-German documentary channel ARTE-TV.

10. Kevin Clarke (New York, USA, 1953)

Kevin Clarke has been working with advanced DNA sequencing technology to explore portraiture of both people and places. Inspired by how Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper portrays not only a specific historical moment but also the technological and social characteristics of Milan at the time, Clarke developed a series of 13 portraits for the Museum Wiesbaden titled The Invisible Body. Included in this series is Portrait of Nam June Paik 1998-1999. Clarke developed the portrait through his interaction with Paik, learning about his life and relationship to the city of Wiesbaden and then juxtaposing images he associated with this to the DNA obtained from blood Paik donated to the artist for the project.

11. Kyong Park (1953- )

New Silk Roads (NSR) is a multi-faceted urban research project that explores the nascent urban conditions emerging in rapidly expanding and transforming Asian cities and regions. Through a nomadic practice, Kyong Park has conducted a series of sequenced expeditions through these transitional regions and cities between Istanbul and Tokyo. The documentation of his encounters with the people and landscape through photography, video, and the audio/video interviews of local and international experts supply the core content of NSR. By approaching urban cities as an ecology of built systems, structures and institutions, NSR presents alternate understandings of urban research and theory through an artistic practice, highlighting informal and emergent structures of the city as the result of a multiplicity of urban processes and actors that exceed the single-minded domination of city construction by architects or planners.

12. Marcus Coates (London, UK, 1968)

Imagining the role of the artist in society as one of translation due to artists’ ability to become something else, Marcus Coates pursues interests in ornithology, zoology and anthropology to investigate the ‘becoming’ of an animal. Coates offers to communicate with a world populated by the spirits of animals and birds by adopting a shamanic role to gain insight to problems on behalf of different publics. In his 2006 Radio Shaman Coates appears on Norwegian Radio as a polite Englishman in suit, spectacles, and stag skin, to address taboo issues raised by the people of Stavanger, a Norwegian town dealing with issues associated to a sudden influx of Nigerian immigrants. Coates’ film explores these issues, taboo in Norwegian society, by performing a Shamanic ritual in the local centres of Religion, Politics and on a street corner. Coates’ role as Shaman in the film meets straightforward acceptance, with strangely no questioning of the authenticity of such a figure regardless of his deadpan self-mocking delivery. In The Plover’s Wing (2008), Coates seeks to find solutions for an Israeli mayor who is concerned about the future of the local youth in the face of the continuing violence in the region.

13. Mary Bauermeister (Frankfurt, 1934- )

Mary Bauermesiter lives and works as an independent visual artist in Cologne and New York. From 1960 to 1962 her legendary ≪Studio Mary Bauermeister≫ existed in Cologne. Here, she organized concerts, happenings and performances with artists like John Cage, David Tudor, Nam June Paik. Mary Bauermeister appreciated and supported Nam June Paik’s works from the beginning and hosted Paik’s in her studio in 1959.

14. Pedro Diniz Reis (Lisbon, Portugal, 1972)

In his video work Pedro Diniz Reis operates an abstraction, through structuralist research, on the contents of fragments appropriated from pop culture. As he generates meaning without a significant through a process of de-contextualization, Reis offers the viewer an entry point into the territory of musicality and abstraction. Breaking the Beat (2007-2008) a Snare drum and Bass drum solo were created and one frame from Betty Page’s archival movie Presenting Betty Page was assigned to each beat. Vertically splitting the screen in two, the Bass drum beats appear on the left and the Snare drum ones on the right. The GR 352 series is a set of four video installations, each one autonomous, presenting a color chart representing the multiplicity of Gerhard Richter’s color grids of the 1970s. Reis arranges the colors on a grid, assigns each one a unique three note musical chord corresponding to their individual RGB values and creates ‘sequential circuits’ in an unpredictable sixteen piano concerto.

15. Roland Topor (1938-1997)

Roland Topor, was a French illustrator, painter, writer and filmmaker, known for the surreal nature of his work. He was of Polish Jewish origin and spent the early years of his life in Savoy where his family hid him from the Nazi peril. His works, uncanny and sometimes humorous, bear contemplation and imagination about inner nature of human beings, and reflect memories from his youth.

16. Sung Eun Chang

SeungEun Chang, who graduated the ENSBA (Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Beaux-Arts) in Paris, is now earning her doctorate degree in Arts et Sciences de l’Art at the the PANTHEON-SORBONNE Universite Paris1 Doctorat. She is mainly characterized by her photographic works for using the human body forms as tools or even like toys, to explore the relationship between the space-time and body or the mind and the body. Her sculpture work at this exhibition will maximize a symbol for feminity, i.e. high-heel / stiletto, thereby pursuing a different type of reversion in relations between the space and human body.

17. Tilo Baumgartel (Leipzig, 1972)

Tilo Baumgartel’s present scenes that seem suspended in time and space and thus unfold with uncertainty. The fairytale atmosphere in his paintings also seems to suggest fragmented dreamy narratives exclusively invented by the artist. In Abendbrot (1998), a dining room setting is populated by a nurse feeding and ape at the table. The static statue-like figures heighten the surreal nature of the image and the muted palette used by the artist allude to an inertia that is transfixed in the light and anomalous quality of the space that has frozen the figures in its strange aura.

18. Ujino Muneteru (Tokyo, Japan, 1964)

Tilo Baumgartel’s present scenes that seem suspended in time and space and thus unfold with uncertainty. The fairytale atmosphere in his paintings also seems to suggest fragmented dreamy narratives exclusively invented by the artist. In Abendbrot (1998), a dining room setting is populated by a nurse feeding and ape at the table. The static statue-like figures heighten the surreal nature of the image and the muted palette used by the artist allude to an inertia that is transfixed in the light and anomalous quality of the space that has frozen the figures in its strange aura.

19. Una Szeemann (Locarno, Switzerland, 1975)

Una Szeemann’s work covers a variety of media ranging from art, cinema, fashion magazines and television to music. For her films, photographs and collages, the artist deliberately appropriates a Hollywood aesthetic that highlights how these media promise a respite from everyday life while determining the viewer’s perception of it: this imaginary world ultimately becomes an inescapable reality. In Montewood/Hollyverita (2003) Szeemann combines Hollywood with Monte Verita the ‘mountain of truth’ founded in the early 1900s in Switzerland by an eclectic group of people, ranging from reformers, vegetarians, writers, musicians, dancers, revolutionaries, psychoanalysts, and theosophists, to anarchists, all ‘wanting to make the world a better place.’ To instill a real star attitude that plays with the myths of this utopian initiative Szeemann sets it in present day Hollywood, casts two major bodybuilders, Pauliina Talus and Tommi Thorvildsen, as Ida Hofmann and Henri Oedenkoven, its founders, and counts on numerous artists to play the role of the different historical characters.

20. Ute Muller (Graz, Austria, 1978)

Their surfaces consist of layer upon layer of paint hinting at the controversy of finding and handling a motif. The work, however, gives evidence of a detachment that operates as deconstruction in order to expose a delusion of order. Like the frames holding them up, the backdrop of the canvases merely represents a frame that must be overcome by imagination: the attention they require subvert the finality of a present state.

21. Yun Ho Kim (Hamyang, 1971)

Yun Ho Kim conducts conceptual and documentary work through photography that researches the mentality of different social circuits visible in the recordings of the social events they enact. Kim’s at times taxonomic approach combines creative practice with scientific curiosity in its observation of the socio-cultural foundations of society. [Before you die](2006-7) presents photos of the most representative souvenirs from eighteen European countries visited by the artist that appear and disappear in the short lapse of the sound of a camera shutter. The audience’s inability to recognize what they see due to the speed of the images, although the images correspond to objects from places they either wish to visit or have visited, surfaces the role of desire and memory and how they fragment experiences.

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