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An image of TV cello by Nam June Paik
Alternate image of TV cello by Nam June Paik Alternate image of TV cello by Nam June Paik Alternate image of TV cello by Nam June Paik
Alternate image of TV cello by Nam June Paik Alternate image of TV cello by Nam June Paik Alternate image of TV cello by Nam June Paik

Nam June Paik

(Korea, United States of America 20 Jul 1932 – 29 Jan 2006)

Title
TV cello
Year
1976
Media categories
Time-based media, Sculpture, Video
Materials used
transparent synthetic polymer resin, television monitors, video tape and player, wood, mixed media
Dimensions

cello: 142.0 x 46.5 x 52.0cm base: 40.0 x 92.0 x 95.0cm overall installed: 170.0 x 92.0 x 95.0 cm

Credit
Gift of the John Kaldor Family Collection 2011. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
Accession number
343.2011.a-c
Copyright
© Nam June Paik Estate
Location
Not on display
Further information

Nam June Paik was a pioneer of video installation in the early 1960s. Associated with the international conceptual movement Fluxus, Paik regularly collaborated with other Fluxus artists such as Joseph Beuys and George Maciunas.

In 1976 John Kaldor invited Paik and his collaborator, the cellist Charlotte Moorman to create a Kaldor Public Art Project in Australia. As part of the project Moorman played the ‘TV cello’. Made from three televisions removed from their sets so that their inner workings can be seen, with an attached cello bridge, tailpiece and strings forming a cello-like instrument.

‘TV Buddha’ was also made in Sydney in 1976 using an old wooden Maitreya (Buddha of the future) from the Kaldor collection. ‘Kaldor candle’ was made in 1996 for John Kaldor, who remained friends with Paik until the artist’s death in 2006. Both ‘TV Buddha’ and ‘Kaldor candle’ employ a conceptual use of video – first developed by Paik – in which a camera and a monitor loop in real time, blurring the object–subject distinction. This feedback idea was used by leading conceptual artists in the 1970s, including Bill Viola, Dan Graham and Mike Parr.

Bibliography (4)

Wayne Tunnicliffe (Editor), John Kaldor family collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2011, 160, 161 (colour illus.).

Wayne Tunnicliffe, Look, 'Kaldor and contemporary', pg.26-29, Newtown, Apr 2011, 28.

Daniel Thomas, 40 years: Kaldor Public Art Projects, 'Reminiscing', pg.37-41, Sydney, 2009, 40, 115 (illus.). installation view with Charlotte Moorman

Nicholas Baume, From Christo and Jeanne-Claude to Jeff Koons: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Sydney, 1995, 33 (illus.), 85. installation view with Charlotte Moorman

Exhibition history (5)

Charlotte Moorman and Nam June Paik:

(On loan to the Art Gallery of South Australia), Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Jul 1986–Oct 1991

From Christo and Jeanne-Claude to Jeff Koons: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, 12 Dec 1995–17 Mar 1996

Nam June Paik, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Jan 2004–08 Feb 2004

40 years: Kaldor Public Art Projects, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 02 Oct 2009–14 Feb 2010