Nam June Paik - Ginsberg
Nam June Paik
Acrylic over colour silkscreen on canvas, collaged with metal elements and 3 watchman, electric cable. 97 x 101.7 cm. Signed and dated 'PAIK '89'.
The present work shows the diversity of Nam June Paik's artistic expression. Within various mediums he combines the abstracted depiction of a television screen with real integrated television sets and a stylised portrait. The underlying theme is the so-called 'white noise'. The term indicates, amongst others, the condition of the television set which has no signal and shows just black and white interference. With the painterly depiction of small printed symbols on the canvas, such as stars, aeroplanes or faces, Paik is imitating this 'white noise' which is simultaneously made visible by the openings in the canvas onto the three 'Watchman' screens. 'Watchman' was a trade name for a small portable television set from Sony. First produced in 1982, it was frequently used by Paik for installations and multiples. Applied metal pieces in the shape of television sets frame the openings in the canvas giving the impression of the eyes and mouth of a stylised face. Together with a nose, represented by a perforated sheet screwed to the centre, and the rough strokes of acrylic paint for hair and beard, a stylised portrait manifests itself, representing the title figure, Allen Ginsberg.
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was a US American Beat Generation poet, whose friends included Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, and who created a scandal with his poem 'Howl', published in 1956. One joint work with Paik includes the television project 'Good Morning, Mr. Orwell' from 1984.
Thomas Wegner collection, Hamburg