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Meet Paik Nam-june through his drawings and paintings

Posted December. 09, 2020 07:29,   

Updated December. 09, 2020 07:29


“I went to Frieze Art Fair in Los Angeles earlier this year, and Paik Nam-june’s works are much more appreciated there than they are in South Korea,” said Ahn Hye-ryeong, the founder of Leeahn Gallery where exhibition Nam June Paik is being held from Thursday. “Paik is as important an artist as the father of pop art Andy Warhol because he started video art,” said Ahn. “It is a shame we still do not know much about him.”

Nam June Paik showcases 27 works of the South Korean artist, many of which are two dimensional with six canvas drawings and 10 prints. “Untitled” (1994), a painting with a five-colored background, and “Evolution, Revolution, Resolution” (1989), a print based on a sculpture, are also exhibited. His drawings feature Chinese characters, Korean alphabets and Roman alphabets.

“His paintings are popular overseas because they are easy to display at home,” said Ahn. “Chinese characters and Korean alphabets are considered an interesting touch.”

There are also video works on display. “Volta,” installed in the basement of the gallery, is a work Ahn had for 25 years. Ahn who was a collector before becoming a gallerist had nine installments by Paik before she opened the gallery in 2007. “A real collector must own at least one artwork by Paik Nam-june because he is an important artist in art history,” she said.

She urged South Korean collectors to be bolder, saying they are particularly sensitive to issues such as failure. The exhibition runs until January 16.

Min Kim kimmin@donga.com