19 January 2011

As the 2010 Liverpool Biennial came to a close, I knew it wouldn’t be long before an exciting new exhibition took place in the heart of the city. December saw the opening of just that. A collaboration between FACT and Tate Liverpool for Nam June Paik (1936 – 2006). Paik was a pioneering artist of the 20th Century using a varied collection of materials to bring together some of the most important pieces of  video art.


The exhibition opened to the public on 17 December and I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to experience it all. First stop in the taxi was the Tate where along with a fellow art student, I noticed a green laser that seemed to be coming from the docks and pointing right out into the city centre. As soon as we arrived we entered the ground floor section that has been dedicated to the artist. A large wall space filled with television screens was what hit me first. It was hard not to be engulfed in it straight away – with the flashing lights and the magnitude of it, it drew me in and felt like a great starting point. On the forth floor the exhibition continues with a large collection of Paik’s work extended into various rooms. I was amazed at the amount of work that was being shown and also the variety of it. There were different assembles of television sets including a line of screens behind fish tanks with a few tiny little fish in.


Next stop was FACT. When we walked in we saw the description of the green laser. It’s a piece by Peter Appleton who through the laser is connecting the two parts of this exhibition with one end on the Tate Liverpool building and the other on FACT. We made our way to the large gallery space downstairs which holds, for me, the most exciting and inviting part of the whole exhibition, Laser Cone. This piece by Paik is a large fabric cone suspended from the ceiling to just above floor level. Around the outside of the cone you can see flashing lasers in differing colours and when you look down you can see the mats on the floor underneath the cone with peoples feet poking out. We crawled under (as dignified as possible) and lay under the cone where we were immediately engrossed in the lasers, the patterns, and the colours above and all around. What made it special though was that there was no fancy music with it; no irritating sounds. There was no need for any of that. The movement of the surrounding changing colours did all that for you, silently. Instead all I could hear were the whispers of the other people lying on the same mat. It brings you back to reality and also gives you a little laugh as I heard quite a few people (including my friend next to me) saying, “I want one!”

Click here to find out more about the Nam June Paik exhibition.