Nam June Paik And Olafur Eliasson With The London Regional OCA Group

Got to be honest here and say that I really struggled with the Nam June Paik exhibition. My childhood was such that I went to sporting events and airshows, and have had no experience of exhibitions until recently. I think the lack of artistic culture in my formative years has left me with a lack of expertise when viewing art at exhibitions. I’m going to make a point of reading “How to read a painting” by the National Gallery.

On the whole I found the Paik exhibition to be confusing, bewildering and overwhelming. There was a cacophony of sound and light, and other exhibits that I felt little connection to. Whilst trying to connect with what the artist was trying to communicate I found my mind was left blank. I didn’t connect with his art at all. I feel almost tearful at my inadequacy when it comes to reading art, especially of this discordant and abstract nature.

However, there were two exhibits that I connected with. The first of these were a selection of artefacts from Paik’s studio.




I may not understand what Paik is conveying, but I appreciate how ideas formulate and concepts develop, and I find the creative process to be fascinating. Ideas emerge in the space between the minutiae, little seeds germinate and creativity branches forth. Some of these will die along the way, but they still remain valuable to the branches which produce fruit.

The second exhibit that I connected with was a projected, blank, 16mm film.

hdrplZen for Film (1964)

The accompanying text states that the film represents “emptiness, boredom and random interference… events such as the shadows cast by the spectators, became part of the work.”

Bev, Johnathan and I enjoyed became part of this transient piece of art. It highlighted to me that the meaning of art changes dependant upon the setting and the viewer.

Interactive art then became the theme for the rest of the day with the Olafur Eliasson, In Real Life, exhibition.

Wow. What an experience.

Welcome to a new world Richard.

In Real Life is not an exhibition to watch and read, it was a fully immersive experience in which one interacts mentally, emotionally, physically and, dare I say, spiritually.


IMG_20191123_115522Big Din blinde passage

“Big Din blinde passage” was 39 meters of sensory deprivation. The passage is full of fog created by food additives. I could barely see in front of myself, so much so that at one point I almost tripped over a woman with a buggy. I couldn’t see either the floor or the walls, and my sense of hearing increased. What made the experience so joyful for me was the laughter of children walking along with their parents. Sensory deprivation made the laughter so pleasurable. The taste of the fog was rather pleasant as well. When I left the tunnel I couldn’t stop smiling. The experience left me awestruck and lifted my mood so much, which was needed after the drop in my self esteem from viewing the Paik exhibition.

Most of the rest of the exhibition was enthrallingly interactive, and I very much became a part of the exhibit. I particularly like the viewing windows, in which the glass had been cut and shaped into hexagons. Each had been cut at an angle which reflected and reflected the view back as if one was looking through a kaleidoscope. Regrettably I did not record the name of these installations.



I also enjoyed the room with the mirrored ceiling. So many people were laying on the floor and looking up at the view.



The whole exhibition felt like play time. I will endeavour to return before the exhibition closes. Never have I found art to be so fun and inspiring.

What the experts say

Nam June Paik 

“I always thought of Nam June Paik as a livewire avant-garde figure from long ago but for decades my experience of him has been as a permanent Art Biennale fixture whose work acted as an instant soporific.

Represented by piles of TVs showing mass-media random information with no particular meaning, the sight of his name on a wall label usually sends me straight into a coma.” (Collings; 2010)

“In 1963, artist Nam June Paik had his first solo exhibition. The show took place in a three-storey villa in Wuppertal, Germany and among the works was a room packed with 13 manipulated television sets. It was the first time an artist had used television as a medium for their art. 

For five decades, Paik built upon these TV experiments and continually bridged the gap between art and technology in a way no other artist had done before.” (Fulleylove; 2019)

Olafur Eliasson

“My works demand the visitors’ engagement; they are dependent on viewers to co-produce them,” he explains. “Many of my works are not only about the visitor’s encounter with the work, but the visitors’ encounters with one another. This is endlessly fascinating.

“I do not mind if people are moved by my work without knowing, or even caring, about any of the theories behind it. I think the art world often treats people patronisingly: take guided audio tours in museums, for example. I enjoy watching people interact without any of this guidance, without the instructions.” (Eliasson; in Alderson; 2015)


Alderson, R; 2015; It’s OK to disagree, the divisive work of artist Olafur Eliasson; Online; AT

Collings, M; 2019; Nam June Paik Review, Daft, inventive energy from a weird kind of artist; Online; AT

Fulleylove, R; 2019; Why Nam June Paik is more than the father of video art; Online; AT

The National Gallery; 2019; How to ‘read’ a painting; Online; AT


14 Replies to “Nam June Paik And Olafur Eliasson With The London Regional OCA Group”

  1. This was interesting. I think I’d enjoy the sensory deprivation tunnel as well, and the kaleidoscope mirrors looked wonderful. Like you, I didn’t grow up going to galleries and installations so I’m often at a bit of a loss. Thank you for including the “How to read a painting” link. We have a couple of galleries in town; going to them is always on my list of things to do.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Paik has always eluded me – Art??? I don’t get Jeff Koons either. Okay, I don’t get a lot of art. Installation art often eludes me and no, I don’t want to be a part of the ‘art” – that sensory deprivation tunnel, so NOT my cup of tea. Lots of ways to interact with ‘art’ – mentally, emotionally, even technically (as in “how do they do that?”). I grew up in art museums and galleries, that’s just the way it is when you live in New York City, so my art education started with the Old Masters – my fascination has always been with how artists paint light – blows me away every time. An artist friend actually showed me various techniques, still blows me away. Shadows and light – makes my jaw drop all the time. I could babble on – like how long it took me to finally appreciate Jackson Pollack – or the pretentiousness of installation art when I was invited to an opening and one of the art pieces was a bunch of dirt piled up in the middle of the floor – and they placed it right in front of the entry door – I was not the first person who stepped right into it and RUINED the art piece. They actually threw me out but I lingered outside to wait for my friend who was the featured artist of the show and after several more people walked into the gallery and RUINED the installation art piece of a pile of dirt on the floor, I was allowed back in. The art world is a crazy place…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think Im better in galleries if there isn’t a time constraint, and if I can sit down and be still with the art before exploring it. I need to get into a different head space than what I am once I’ve just walked in off of the street.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve gone to plenty of those as a kid. I don’t think I was ready for it. It often felt overwhelming. I am slowly re-introducing myself to it. Although, I still do not stop and connect with every single thing. Only certain things call out to me and I think that’s fine. Art is so subjective.

    The sensory deprivation tunnel sounds great. I actually thought of doing something like that (sensory deprivation tank). But why food coloring? I feel like there ought to be something unhealthy about it. Why not do a pitch-black tunnel instead?

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I misspoke by saying “coloring.” It just made me think of vaping. There are “natural” things (from veggies) in there, too, and it is not the healthiest. You make a good point regarding the darkness and emotional responses. I wouldn’t feel comfortable in such a dense fog, either, though.

        Liked by 1 person

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