Paik Nam-june's Personal History Published"Humane, too humane. Genius, too much of a genius," said the former director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art and veteran art critic Lee Kyung-sung, referring to Korean-born video artist Paik Nam-june.
The media often portrays Paik as a stubborn artist who makes eccentric statements.
"Art is fraud," he would say, and the Korean art community would panic.
But to many, Paik is simply a wealthy child who somehow turned revolutionary in the New York art scene. In hopes of solving some of the misconceptions surrounding Paik, Lee Kyung-hee, one of Paik's kindergarten friends, delves into Paik's personal history in a new book "The Story of Paik Nam-june."
And though numerous books on Paik'sworks have been written by the world's top art historians over the years, none have dealt with the artist's personal history.
As with all art genres, the artist's background enables one to understand the artworks in depth. Paik is no exception. Having spent the childhood years with Paik, Lee attempted to approach the artist from a subjective point of view, a "memoir" as Lee calls it.
Though the two have known each other for more than 60 years, Lee says they weren't "life time companions." In fact, they were apart most of their lives until 1984, when Paik visited Seoul. It was Paik's first visit to Korea in 35 years and his mind was set on meeting his kindergarten friend Lee. Lee agreed.
According to the author, the two rode to school in a Cadillac owned by Paik's family, and were known as "the neighborhood's prince and princess who had a crush on each other."
Aside from the childhood memoirs, the book also mentions several episodes Lee experienced while visiting Paik's performances abroad.
Despite a devastating stroke later in his life, Paik made an effort to send faxes to each of his loved ones, noting that his condition was gradually improving.
The book published by Yulhwadang is currently on sale for 1.5000 won.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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