March 11 to 20 1963
Gallerie Parnass, Wuppertal
Nam June Paik's first major exhibition was held from 11 to 20 March 1963 in a gallery (Gallerie Parnass) run by architect Rolf Jährling in his private residence.
The title Paik chose indicates his transition from music to the electronic image. Four ”˜prepared’ pianos, mechanical sound objects, several record and tape installations, twelve modified TV sets, and the head of a freshly slaughtered ox above the entrance awaited visitors. The show ran for ten days and opened for two hours daily between 7.30 and 9.30pm.
Newspaper reports indicate that visitors to the show, which was distributed over the entire house (and did not stop at the private quarters of the Jährling family), experienced the show and its setting as a ”˜total event’, many guests taking no more than a perfunctory glance at the room with TV sets.
Today, this room is seen as the starting point of the video art that later developed, although Paik, not yet having access to video equipment, was still modifying inexpensive second-hand TV sets to distort the TV programmes as they were being broadcast. Germany had only one TV station up to 1963, and it broadcast for no more than a few hours each evening ”“ possibly explaining the late opening-time of Paik's show. Unlike the Fluxus actions which took place concurrently, Paik’s project did not attract TV coverage.
A leaflet printed for the show included a theoretical text by Paik: "One can say that electronic television is not the mere application and expansion of electronic music in the field of optics but represents a contrast to electronic music (at least in its starting phase), which shows a pre-defined, determined tendency both in its serial compositional method and in its ontological form (tape recordings destined for repetition). (...) I have not only expanded from 20 kHz to 4 MHz the material being treated, but have more pronouncedly used the physical property of the electron (indeterminacy, the dual character of corpuscles (particles) and waves (status)."
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