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VIDEO'S UNEXPLORED TERRITORY LURED ARTIST NAM JUNE PAIK

By David SterrittStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / January 8, 1990



NEW YORK

Nam June Paik, an influential South Korean artist who pioneered the use of video as a serious artistic medium, feels that resistance to video art has diminished in recent years. ``We had resistance until the 1970s,'' he said in a recent interview at the Whitney Museum, where he is represented in the ``Image World'' exhibition. ``But in the '80s we had two big things. One was the great success of Laurie Anderson as a performance artist.... And then I had a show [at the Whitney] in '82 ... with lots of TVs, and that became a watershed event. Technology in art became OK.''

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Mr. Paik says the high-tech aspect of his art is a secondary factor that doesn't particularly attract him. ``Actually, technology is not that important for me as an artist,'' he asserts. ``I [also] play piano, and I write some.... Yet anything which is not yet traveled - any virgin land, which other people don't see - I am interested in. Most artists are just painters, and they didn't pay attention to [video], which is a great, great painting brush! So since nobody else was doing it, I did it. If somebody was doing it, I would have done other things.''

When it comes to experimenting and venturing into new terrain, Paik says, ``You just have to try. If it works, fine. If it does not work, [at least] we've increased the wisdom of the human brain!''