Korea remembered Paik Nam-june a year after his death on Monday (Jan. 29)with supporters building a museum in his honor, galleries organizing exhibitions and the country's post office issuing stamps in memory of the world-renowned video artist.
"He was not an ordinary man", Kim Yoon-soo, director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, south of Seoul, said. "He was the first Korean who reached the ranks of world-renowned artists. The nation should honor him in a way that befits his achievement".
The avant-garde video artist, who was born in Seoul in 1932 and died at the age of 73 in his home in Miami, the United States, received South Korea's first-ranking Order of Culture Merit in 2000. Posthumous efforts to remember him are underway, including the construction of a museum named after him in Gyeonggi Province.
The state-run Gwacheon museum hosted a memorial service for Paik that was attended by his Japanese widow Shigeko Kubota and about 100 artists and officials. A video chronicling Paik's artistic path was shown during the ceremony. The one hour and 10-minute video titled "My Life With Nam June Paik" and edited by Kubota, also a video artist, featured scenes of his performances, his first return to Korea in 1986, his life after a stroke and rehabilitation.
In a more festive mood, a Korean shaman named will hold a rite for Paik spirit in the afternoon at Ssamzie Gallery in Insa-dong, Seoul's tourist attraction dotted with traditional stores. The gallery also plans to display documents and video clips on the Fluxus movement, in which Paik and his friends challenged established notions of art and expressed his inspiration through video and television.
In the private Philip Kang Gallery in southern Seoul, photographer Lee Eun-ju will present a large number of photographs she took during Paik's trip to Korea and about his studio in New York.
For the anniversary, the Korean Post Office issued a collectors' series of postage stamps featuring Paik's celebrated works like "TV Buddha", (1974) a bronze sculpture of the Buddha gazing at a television set, or "The More The Better" (1988), a giant birthday cake consisting of 1003 monitors and a steel structure.
The son of a wealthy textile businessman, Paik studied in Japan and began his art career in Germany before settling in the United States in 1964.
Some of his ashes are stored at Bongeunsa Temple in southern Seoul. Paik had called himself a Buddhist, though not a practicing one, his relatives said.