Historical background

5 Dates

  1. 1895 : The Lumière brothers invent the cinematograph in Lyon, where they are industrialists.
  2. 1914 : In London, Archibald Low constructs the first "television".
  3. 1936 : 1936 Alan Turing perfects the first mathematical model of a programmable computer.
  4. 1963 : Nam June Paik and Wolf Vostell produce the first electronic and televisual distortions of images in works of art.
  5. 1995 : 3rd Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon : video, informatic, virtual reality and cinematographic works.

While Paik was looking at the medium of video as a technique to be exploited, or the field of a possible artistic revolution such as that which had been initiated by John Cage in music with his prepared pianos, Vostell, for his part, was approaching television as the instrument of a coercive social ritual.

It was from these complementary and opposite postulates that the artistic practices manifested themselves, marking contemporary creation in an indelible way between 1963 and the end of the 1970s. The main stages of this pioneering period will be retraced, with works by Nam June Paik , Wolf Vostell, Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci , Peter Campus , Dan Graham , Dennis Oppenheim , Steina and Woody Vasulka , Piotr Kowalski , Bill Viola and Marina Abramovic & Ulay.

The exhibition will give considerable prominence to contemporary international creation, represented by 64 artists, and will propose, as an introduction, a condensed selection of works done by artists of the first generation that carried out experiments on the televisual medium. This overview will take as its point of departure the year 1963.

It was in March of 1963 that Nam June Paik, presented for the first time in the history of visual arts, at the exhibition "Music/Electronic/Television" at the Parnass Gallery in Wuppertal, a work whose materiality was the electronic image : thirteen television sets prepared according to thirteen different modalities.
For Paik, it was a question of attempting to create a new kind of painting,abstract and in movement, by the use of electronic procedures. This work opened up the field of art, in a manifest way, to the electronic image.

In May 1963, at the Smolin gallery in New York, Wolf Vostell exhibited the environment entitled "6 TV Dé-coll/ages". This work, in which each of six television sets presented a form of anomaly, extended the medium to directly sociological goals. Since 1958 he had made television a symbol to be subverted.


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