Throughout his life, Nam June Paik lived in disparate places such as Seoul, Tokyo, Dusseldorf and New York, where he found artistic camaraderie and which were the arenas for creative experiment. Paik’s unique take on eastern and western philosophies and cultures in his technology-based practice was inspired by the vision of a transnationally and technologically connected world. Influenced by his interest in the history of colonialism, war, immigration and globalisation, Paik’s international trajectory was exceptional at a time when travelling across borders was rare and difficult. Identifying what is Korean, Japanese, German or American about Paik’s art would be a futile task, for his practice was always related to a global community of creators and viewers. Paik freely dipped into diverse cultures and new technologies in a manner he described as ‘random access’. He selected various elements of civilisations past and present, eastern and western, and established a hybrid construct that defied any assumed characteristics of specific countries or cultures of origin. This lecture will address Paik’s vision of a world intertwined without national borders or cultural hierarchies that resonates strongly with our increasingly networked and digitally connected reality.
- Dr Sook-Kyung Lee is Senior Curator, International Art (Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational) at Tate Modern, UK. She is currently curating Nam June Paik, which will premiere at Tate Modern in late 2019 and tour in Europe, USA and Asia. As the leading curator of Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, Lee has a particular interests in transnational interconnectedness in artistic and curatorial practices. She previously led Tate Research Centre: Asia from its inception to conclusion in 2012-2018, and has held responsibilities for the research and acquisition of art from the Asia-Pacific region for Tate Collection. Lee was previously Exhibitions & Displays Curator at Tate Liverpool and curated a number of exhibitions and displays including Doug Aitken – The Source, Thresholds (part of Liverpool Biennial 2012) and parts of Constellations. She also served as the Commissioner and Curator of the Korean Pavilion for the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015.