1932- Born in Seoul, Korea. He is an avant-garde practitioner of Video Art, Performance Art and Installation Art. From 1953 to 1956, studied at University of Tokyo where he wrote his thesis on composer Arnold Schoenberg. In 1956, he moved to Germany for graduate study in music history and composition. There he participated in "Fluxus," performing his own compositions and experimenting with television. In 1964, Paik settled permanently in New York. Collaborated with John Cage. At this point, he was primarily interested in Electronic music. Fond of creating large scale installations using TV sets; sometimes involving 100's of sets. It often involves modifying the circuitry of the sets so he can achieve effects never before seen.

Artists who worked with Paik at one point or another include:

His work is in the permanent collection of:

There was a major retrospective of Paik's work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in the spring of 2000.


Sources: Friedman, Ken, Editor, "The Fluxus Reader", John Wiley and Sons, West Sussex, 1998. Hendricks, Jon, "Fluxus Codex", Harry N. Abrams, NY, 1995. Last Updated 04.17.04

Paik studied music composition first in Korea, then at the University of Tokyo, where he wrote his thesis on modernist composer Arnold Schönberg. In 1956 Paik traveled to Europe and settled in Germany to pursue his interest in avant-garde music and performance.

During studies at the Summer Course for new music in Daarmstat in 1958, Paik met composer John Cage. Cage's ideas on composition and performance were a great influence on him, as were those of George Maciunas, the founder of the radical art movement Fluxus, which Paik was invited to join.

Paik's initial artistice explorations of the mass media of television were presented in his first solo exhibition in 1963, Exposition of Music-Electronic Television at the Galerie Parnass in Wuppertal, Germany. This milestone features Paik's prepared televisions. Paik altered the sets to distort their reception of broadcast transmissions and scattered them about the room, on their sides and upside down. He also created interactive video works that transformed the viewer's relationship to the medium. With these first steps began the exploration of television as art medium.

In 1964 Paik moved to New York and continued his explorations of television av video. By the late 1960s he was in the front of a new generation of experimenting artists, manipulation CRTs to perform at his will. He worked as a teacher all through the 1960s and 1970s, while supporting other artists willing to explore the newly discovered art medium. He started the work with videotapes and joined art friends such as Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, John Cage, Joseph Beuys and Merce Cunningham.

My personal favourite thing with this artist, is his art medium, the ray. I haven't actually read this anywhere, but it strikes me as natural that Paik paints with rays of light, or electron beams. His first installments often used the manipulated electron beams to paint patterns on the television screen that no one had seen before. When the digital age arrived, he turned to lasers as a brush. One of his latest installments, a large cone which laser light is projected upon, is staggering to experience. I have experienced standing inside the cone while lasers in all colours painted the white canvas into an 2001ish LSD trip. Extraordinary.

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