|Zen for Head / Nam June Paik 1962|
Friday, April 15, 2016
"One of my favorite art works is called “Zen for Head,” a performance piece by Nam Jun Paik. It is an interpretation of a ‘score’ by another artist, LaMonte Young, who was associated with the Fluxus movement of the 1950s and ’60s. This group was interested in putting the possibility of artmaking in the hands of ordinary people. Young’s “Composition 1960 No. 10” consisted entirely of the instruction: “draw a straight line and follow it.” A couple of years later, Paik did just that, dunking his head in a bowl of ink and dragging his hair like a giant brush along a scroll of paper. It reminds me, too, of a piece by Rauschenberg (another artist working at the boundary between painting and performance) made collaboratively with John Cage, entitled “Automobile Tire Print.” It’s a direct “print” made by rolling a tire covered with black house paint over sheets of typewriter paper. Both Paik and Rauschenberg were referring to the tradition of Asian ink painting, with its scroll format and emphasis on the immediacy of the encounter between ink and paper."