planning tools
date : 2020-21
olympic effect: korean architecture and design from 1980s to 1990s
MMCA Gwacheon

Since 2010, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) has carried out various programs to lay the foundation of Korean architectural and design history. The MMCA accordingly presents the exhibition Olympic Effect: Korean Architecture and Design from 1980s to 1990s, which examines the rapid changes that occurred in Korea's visual and material culture hroughout the 1980s and 1990s. Taking "Olympic Effect" as its keyword, the exhibition revisits the architectural events and design objects that appeared as a result of the 1988 Seoul Olympics and reveals their multiple layers of meaning. As a major international event, the Olympics marked a seismic shift in all areas of Korean society. The exhibition turns the spotlight away from the Olympics itself to shine on the overlapping scenes of the event's preparation, exploring the urban development, environmental design, architecture, industrial design, and graphic design both prompted and ironically streamlined by the Olympics.

  The legacy of the Olympics permeates our daily lives in various ways that defy physical or statistical measurement. This is shown in how the exhibition's archival display of the era's visual culture, material culture, and artifacts uncovers the process of how and by whom they were produced and accepted. The exhibition also retraces the work of designers and architects who remained in practice amid the social transformation of the 1980s and 1990s. Also on display are reinterpretations of these archival materials expressed in newly commissioned artworks.

  International events such as the Tokyo Olympics originally planned for 2020 are now contending with COVID-19. The staggering costs, environmental destruction, and social exclusion caused by large scale development cast a shadow that accompanies the Olympics. Overcoming the past dichotomies of national-international, old-new, vanished-remaining, the exhibition explores the conditions for understanding and recording the present age. The MMCA invites all visitors to discover the multilayered practices of Korean modern architecture and design leading up to and following the 1988 Seoul Olympics.