Sexual Healing, March 2000
Sexual Healing continued Shigeko Kubota’s objective use of sexually charged content while documenting the everyday life she shares with her husband, Nam June Paik. She has focussed all of her energy on the rehabilitation of her husband since his stroke in 1996.
Moving to New York from Japan to join Fluxus, Shigeko Kubota crossed paths with the Father of Video Art, Nam June Paik, in the 1960′s. Since then, they have supported each other’s work in Film and Video through frequent collaborations.
Although they were married in 1970, their rally to the introduction of sexual values in hi-art forms can be traced from Kubota’s Vagina Painting, ’65, performed by Kubota, and Nam June Paik’s TV Bra, made renown by Charlotte Mooreman.
In a loving homage Shigeko Kubota allows the art world to witness their unique relationship and its innovations and adaptations to life. Sculptures and industrial banisters set in the gallery are appropriations of objects that have proliferated the couple’s home and workspace in real life. An abnormal hospital bed in a corner, a distressed wheelchair central to the space, a rendering of a hospital window, video flowers, sculptures of the artist and her husband proudly standing side by side, projections over the entire scene with colorful images of the pair engaged in daily activities, support a single channel video of Paik flirting with all of his young rehab therapists titled Sexual Healing. Although the focus is on love and compassion between two people faced with a significant obstacle the exhibition escapes trivializing this situation, giving us a glimpse at the ingenuity and flexibility necessary to removing barriers within life and art. Shigeko Kubota offers this visionary duo’s approach to art as an extension of healing.
The concurrent retrospective of Nam June Paik’s work on view at the uptown Guggenheim Museum in New York allows “Sexual Healing” a unique added dimension.