New Perspectives on Global Art Histories – Brought to you by Hyundai Motor Company

Transnational as a term,
may seem quite abstract and it may be quite difficult to actually
imagine what does that really mean? We have an exhibition of Nam June Paik, an artist who grew up in; Korea by birth,
grew up in Japan, lived in Germany,
had their formative experiences there, went to the United States. Depending on where you go at the moment,
some people may say, “No, he’s an American artist,”
some people would say he’s a German artist. Some people would say he’s a Korean artist. So it becomes very rapidly clear,
that category doesn’t really hold, and, I think, It relates to how many of us feel today,
that we may have a passport but that doesn’t mean
that we are defined by it. The first time I saw Nam June Paik’s work
was actually on TV, in Seoul. And I knew that it was live TV which was connected to
a lot of other countries beyond Korea. And that was
a really interesting experience for me to understand how globalized the world was and how instantly we could be connected
to a different world. In terms of actually the importance
of artists that work with new media and technology in the museum, it’s of course important that museums reflect
the moment in time that we live in. We live in a digital age,
everybody is constantly on their screen. There is a number of artists who already in the
1960s, such as Nam June Paik, actually almost could see this happening. Paik began to celebrate television,
new technologies rather than being nostalgic for the age before. So, it feels very natural in a way, that we should be engaged with conversations
around technology. At the beginning when Tate Modern opened, we began to invest very heavily
into our digital space, so, in terms of actually new technologies
and audiences, it has been a long time now
part of the conversation that we would like to make our programme. But particularly,
also the ideas that we are discussing, accessible to people even if they cannot
be here in any one moment in time. I think it’s really important to reconsider
Paik’s legacy now because he’s such a titan of 20th Century
and modern art really. You know, the present is really
just the sum of the past and Paik played such a hugely important part
in shaping the past, and consequently, in shaping the present. The Nam June Paik exhibition at Tate Modern
is a major retrospective which looks at over five decades
of the artist’s practice. Now, with internet and live streaming
and these things, we are really connected
with a lot of other people and most importantly,
we are creators of our own images.

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