In the 1980s, Paik made a series called Family of Robots
, where he explored the notion of technological advancement and aging through figures made from televisions. Made up of the figures of a traditional Korean family unit – grandparents, aunt and uncle, mother and father and children – the age of the robots’ components corresponded to their ‘human’ age roles. The grandparental figures features TV sets from the 1940s, whilst the children were made from up-to-date TVs, with even newer sets for their heads than those used for their bodies. This piece shows the ‘uncle’ of the family.
Nam June Paik
Nam June Paik
Date of work
Original: Television casings, electronic components, speaker cone, cathode-ray tube, metal, enamel paint, ten cathode-ray tube televisions and video, colour 228 x 114 x 64 cm Collection of Sylvio Perlstein © Estate of Nam June Paik
Nam June Paik (1932 – 2006) was a Korean-American artist, who lived and worked in Japan, Germany and the USA in a variety of media. Pioneering the use of video and TV in art, Paik’s artistic practice crossed disciplines, and has had a profound influence on contemporary art and culture. His robots created from television screens are some of his best-known pieces, with televisions and electronic imagery featuring as a key component in both his solo and collaborative works.