Nam June Paik

In the art world, as in intellectual history, most inventions have multiple progenitors. In the field of video art, however, there has always been just one individual who is credited: Nam June Paik. In the ’60s, this Korean-born artist turned the television, totem of hard, material shell and immaterially shimmering screen, into the raw material of an entire movement in art. The Kunsthaus Zurich served as showcase for the rich production of hard- and software from the Paik factory that has accumulated over the past thirty years. It is a monumental retrospective (certainly the largest since the Whitney exhibition of 1982), from TV Chair, 1968–74, through the legendary TV Buddha, 1974—a rotund, priestly figure staring at his live-videotaped face on a rotund TV-set—up to the multi-TV installations, in which Paik constructs as many as a thousand monitors into gigantic, flickering architectural

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