Pioneers of avant-garde video and performance, artist Nam June Paik and cellist Charlotte Moorman collaborated in Adelaide and Sydney during 1976 on an
exhibition and series of more than 40 performances for Project 5. The exhibition included a selection of Paik’s famous video sculptures – constructions
from TV sets that screened his experiments with synthesised video and feedback – and was accompanied by artistically and physically daring performances
written by Paik and their contemporaries, including Jim McWilliams, Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono and John Cage. They captured the attention of the media
as Moorman performed naked with a cello carved from ice, swinging from a 12-metre trapeze, smothered in 13 kilograms of chocolate fudge, and suspended
from balloons drifting above the Sydney Opera House forecourt.
Hailed as the ‘father of video art’ and the ‘Jeanne d’Arc of new music’, together Paik and Moorman fused music and sculpture, performance and video, challenging
conventions and creating new sounds, images and experiences. Their exhibition in Australia was shown at the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide
and later the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, presenting newly created versions of Paik’s famous video sculptures TV Buddha and Video Garden and his sculptures created for Moorman, TV cello, TV bed and TV bra for living sculpture.
At the time of their visit, Moorman and Paik had collaborated for over 10 years and together they presented a program of special recitals, performing Fluxus
works composed by Paik and other collaborators. Special events were also staged by Moorman in both Adelaide and Sydney, including Ice music for Adelaide,
in which Moorman wore nothing but a wreath of flowers and played a 90-kilogram block of ice carved in the form of a cello, surrounded by radiators
and spotlights, until the instrument melted. A daytime performance of Flying cello in Adelaide’s Elder Park involved a highwire trapeze act
conceived by Jim McWilliams. Mieko Shiomi’s Cello sonata was another vertiginous performance by Moorman, who dangled her cello from a bamboo pole positioned
at the top of the Adelaide Festival Theatre rooftop and then in Sydney from the roof of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
An Easter performance of Jim McWilliams’ Chocolate cello was performed at Coventry Gallery in Sydney, with Moorman and her cello smeared in 13 kilograms
of fudge. For the finale of the visit, Moorman performed Jim McWilliams’ Sky kiss above the Sydney Opera House forecourt. Dressed in a black
leotard and white satin cape, she played Jimmy Webb’s Up, up and away, suspended by helium balloons.