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Buddha game



Nam June Paik

Korea, United States of America

20 Jul 1932 - 29 Jan 2006


Nam June Paik came to the attention of international audiences when he began working with Fluxus and in particular his musical collaborations with Joseph Beuys in the 1960s. He was first shown in Sydney in 1976 as part of a John Kaldor project with Charlotte Moorman with whom he also regularly performed.

He has combined performative and musical aspects in his work while increasingly bringing in applications of new technology. He has been an international pioneer of video installation and is represented by such works in many of the world's most important museums.

This work is a compact example that includes many of his consistent themes. The box that houses the work is a television cabinet within which he has miniature videos operating watched by two bronze Buddhas. Confronting the spiritual dimension of Buddhism with new technologies is a continuing aspect of the work. The space of the screen where so many people "meditate" every day is provocatively juxtaposed with the sublime attention of Buddhist meditation.

The cabinet is covered with pages from an old Korean book making the modern exterior of the appliance seem strangely antique. This use of collage and found objects accords well with the Fluxus movement with which Paik is associated. The feel of this particular box suggests the work of Wolf Vostel for example.




Media categories

Sculpture , Time-based art

Materials used

television set, pages from a printed book, 2 gold leaf wooden Buddhas, neon, antenna, 5 television monitors


147.3 x 92.7 x 59.7 cm :

a - cabinet, 135 x 92.7 x 59.7 cm

b - antenna, 12.7 cm

Signature & date

Signed and dated on side of cabinet, paint 'Nam June Paik, 91'. Signed in Korean characters on side of cabinet, paint 'Nam June Paik.


Purchased 2002


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Nam June Paik

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 7 publications


George Alexander, Contemporary: Art Gallery of New South Wales Contemporary Collection, 'Popism and screen culture', pg.204-245, Sydney, 2006, 234, 235 (colour illus.).

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2003 [for the year ended 30 June 2003], 'Year in review', pg. 14-35, Sydney, 2003, 21.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2002, 'Year in review', pg. 8-25, Sydney, 2002, 11.

Christie's London, Christie's London: Contemporary Art, London, 08 Feb 2002, 132, 133 (colour illus.). lot no. 175

Jackie Menzies, Look, 'Asian Favourites', pg. 24-27, Sydney, Sep 2003, 25 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 187 (colour illus.).

Public Programmes Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Adventures in Asia. An education kit for the Asian gallery, Sydney, 2003, 8 (colour illus.). card no. 8