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View from entrance into the hall with the Ibach piano destroyed by Joseph Beuys Action at the Exposition of Music – Electronic Television, Parnass Gallery, Wuppertal
Date/ 1963
Artist(Credit Line)/ Manfred Montwé
Classification/ Photography
Dimensions / 30.4×40.2cm
Medium / Black & white photograph on baryt paper

Taken by Manfred Montwé, this is a photograph of Nam June Paik’s first solo show Exposition of Music – Electronic Television held in Galerie Parnass in Wuppertal in March 1963. In the central hall of the gallery, there were four pianos displayed under the title of Klavier Integral. One of them was an Ibach piano, whose lid and hammer were removed and which was laid down to expose keys and strings. Paik’s intention was to allow viewers to tread or run on it, that is, to play it with their feet. In the opening day, however, Joseph Beuys showed himself with an ax and swung it all the way to strike the piano in shatters. Nobody had known of this happening beforehand, but Paik remembered that the audience burst into loud applause after the improvisational act. It was said that in order to control the situation, Montwé in charge of maintaining the exhibition brought a bucket of water to pour it over Beuys. That piano remained there as it was, and visitors watched the sight of a broken piano or stepped over it. It had been obtained, with the help of gallery owner Rolf Jährling, directly from the Ibachs, one of the most notable families in Wuppertal, and regarding this old piano, Paik recounted: “If the piano survived today, it would fetch a great price because it was the first piano work of Beuys. We did not have a capability to look ahead to the future and returned the broken piano to the Ibachs. They just throw it away.”
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Korea Open Government License
Korea Open Government License
Attribution (BY), Non-commercial (NC), No Derivative Works (ND)