Gallery 220 from April to July 2010
Nam June Paik
American, born Korea, 1932–2006
TV Buddha, 1989
Single channel video and mixed media
Partial gift of Pamela and Richard Kramlich to the New Art Trust to benefit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate, London
Nam June Paik’s TV Buddha explores contemporary relationships among religion, technology, and self-perception. The Buddha continuously monitors his own state of enlightenment, absent worldly desire and suffering, on a video playing on a closed-circuit television.
Perhaps the artist offers the promise of enlightenment in a world dominated by media. In contrast, the neighboring Amida Buddha, the Buddha of Infinite Light, offers the possibility of enlightenment through faith alone to twelfth-century believers.
Given the prevalence of social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, Paik’s commentary on the discovery and consequent redefinition of self through technology is more relevant today than ever before. Often revered as the “father of video art,” Paik defined and redefined the nature of video art over decades of working with digital media. He began his work with video in the mid 1960s, and predicted video and other digital media would become the dominant forms of artistic and cultural communication in the late twentieth and twenty-first century.
Web site: http://www.paikstudios.com
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