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Nam June Paik as Korean emperor ©Eric Kroll
Nam June Paik as a Korean emperorCourtesy of Eric Kroll

The Korean TV artist who inspired fetish photography

Eric Kroll showcases unseen art and video that traces his collaborative work, including a Playboy Bunny and a humanoid robot, with visual artist and sculptor Nam June Paik

The intriguing intersection between New-York born photographer Eric Kroll, renowned for his tantalizing, latex-laden fetish portraits and Korean-American visual artist and sculptor Nam June Paik began in Manhattan. According to Kroll, Paik helped to mold him as a young artist from the mid-70s onwards, elevating his art and teaching him “the importance of including absurdity in my work”.

A provocateur of media art, Nam June Paik utilised video and television in new and creative ways from the early 60s. He was one of the first artists to successfully marry the mediums of art and technology, with works such as Nixon, a sculpture made of cathode-ray-tube televisions, and Bakelite Robot.

Eric Kroll is a Dazed regular, having unearthed his shots of the roadside sex joints of 70s America for the Autumn issue. Drawing from the likes of bondage photographers such as Man Ray, Kroll captures fetishism placed in unconventional positions: women adorned with cactus needles, cellophane or seeds, wearing leather and red rubber.

The images from Kroll illustrate the artistic duo’s colourful, collaborative encounters. From a portrait of Paik playing emperor, to snaps of the artist and his multi-sensory pieces, across decades.

A recent gallery installation highlights the creative relationship between the pair: featuring raw and intimate photos of Paik, captured by Kroll, as well as original drawings and sculptures. Kroll also showed a never-before-seen video documentation of Paik’s work creating a video sculpture. Working together between 1977 and 1994, one of their most notable collaborations is Reclining Buddha, displaying Playboy centerfold Nicole Woods.