TV Rodin (Le Penseur)

  • 1976
  • Nam June Paik
  • Monitor TV, camera, plaster casted sculpture
  • Sculpture : 42 x 27 x 20 cm ; Pedestal : 90 x 110 x 50 cm ; TV : 30 x 32 x 27,5 cm ; Camera : 8 x 40 x 10 cm ; Sand and camera : 115 x 60 cm ; Overall Dimensions : 132 x 110 x 115 cm
Inspired by Zen and Eastern philosophies, these works invite the viewer into an endless contemplation within a closed circuit in which the sculptures are confronted indefinitely with their own image, captured on video. In TV Rodin, Paik turns the figure of introspection (originally destined for the Gates of Hell) into a Narcissus, ill at ease when faced with his own identity.

© The Estate of Nam June Paik, 2014. Photo © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Martin Argyroglo


Nam June Paik

Korean-born Nam June Paik is considered to be one of the founders of video art. After studying art history and music in Tokyo, he moved to Germany in 1956. There, he got to know Karlheinz Stockhausen, who introduced him to electroacoustic music and the work of John Cage. In 1960 Paik joined the Fluxus movement and performed many pieces based on the deconstruction of sound forms.

At the same time he was making his first works incorporating television. These generally examined the possibilities of manipulating and colouring images through sound or by disturbing the cathode ray tube. Using multiple images, collage, inlay and layering in a random manner, he created video sculptures, sometimes anthropomorphic, in which images flash by rapidly on a stack of monitors. Greatly ahead of his time, in 1974 he invented forms of mixing and sampling, and in 1984 he anticipated the planetary dimension of art through his interest in satellite communication.

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