Nam June Paik

FACT, Wood Street
17th December 2010 to 13th March 2011

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan

Art can be comfortably vague or uncomfortably in your face.

Whichever you prefer, there's something for both strands of preference at FACT's part of this exhibition of Nam June Paik's astoundingly relevant work. On entry to the shiny space that makes FACT so expansive, one is drawn to the corner gallery, where a section of work inspired by the artist is featured. Bathed in futuristic light and boasting televisions that can be manipulated with a magnetised remote control and standing musical instruments cum video montages that are fully interactive, with the participants able to make sonic vibrations that echo around the installation. For anybody interested in having some creative pleasure, this part is surely the most effective.

The further galleries afford a look at the work of Nam's own hand, where we see some real innovation, even in the context of today's art scene. The ground floor gallery is pitch black on entrance, but after a few seconds you'll see the light, literally. For this gallery houses the piece Laser Cone, demonstrating a battle of nature and technology and mathematics versus randomness. The cone's lights move in mathematically programmed sequences of colour that could almost be random and to experience the piece is to see what isn't immediately visible. The gallery is dark, the piece shows itself sporadically and the effect is impressive.

The upper gallery is a suite of luxurious chairs and televisions, each one programmed with a selection of Nam's experimental and often ground breaking movies of widely varying lengths. There are far too many of them to make it a one day event, but one of my personal favourites is 9/23/69 Experiment with David Atwood, which is a psychedelic and highly colourful eighty minute piece with an electronic soundtrack that wouldn't be out of place on electronic album today. I'll let you judge the films on your own tastes in your own time, but I would recommend a visit to this exhibition for anybody interested in the spectacle of art, as well as its creation.

There's plenty of time left to see Nam June Paik's work and I suggest you do so soon!

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