[National Museum of Modern Contemporary Art, Korea] Cilvilization: The Way We Live Now

2018.10.18-2019.02.17 / National Museum of Modern Contemporary Art, Korea

More information is available on the MMCA website.

National Museum of Modern Contemporary Art, Korea


The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea presents Civilization: The Way We Live Now from Thursday, October 18, 2018, through Sunday, February 17, 2019, at MMCA Gwacheon.

Civilization: The Way We Live Now examines multiple aspects of contemporary civilization through photographs, showcasing over 300 works by 135 artists from 43 countries in Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, and North and South America. In addition to globally renowned artists such as Candida Höfer, Thomas Struth, Olivo Barbieri, Edward Burtynsky, and Wang Qingsong, the exhibition introduces works by Korean artists KDK (Kim Dokyun), Kim Taedong, Jason Sangik Noh, Noh Suntag, Jung Yeondoo, Jo Choonman, Che Onejoon, and Han Sungpil. This exhibition is the first world-scale photography exhibition since The Family of Man (MoMA, 1955) to present a comprehensive overview of contemporary civilization, with a tour exhibition scheduled in 10 international museums including the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing (March 2019); the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia (September 2020); and the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations in Marseille, France (January 2021), after the MMCA Gwacheon exhibition.

Jeffrey Milstein, ,2016 ⓒ Jeffrey Milstein

Civilization: The Way We Live Now offers a retrospective of the 25 years of global civilization and its process since the early 1990s, with a focus on the collective behaviors and achievements that have largely abated in the era of individualism. Without denying individualism or individualist culture, the exhibition spotlights things and values shared en masse. Through photographs taken from around the world, the exhibiting artists observe, record, and interpret “the way we live now”: where and how we live, how we work and play, how we transport ourselves and things, how we cooperate and compete, how we love, and how we start wars. Capturing workplaces such as banks, government agencies, prisons, and schools, the photographers each present their own perspectives on our civilization.

The exhibition presents the various artistic perspectives divided into eight sections: “Hive,” “Alone Together,” “Flow,” “Persuasion,” “Control,” Rupture,” “Escape,” and “Next.”

Pablo Lopez Luz, ,2006 ⓒ Pablo Lopez Luz

The first section, “Hive,” reflects on the organic urban development and expansion led by man. Cyril Porchet’s Untitled depicts a frame full of people gathered like a colony of insects, while Candida Höfer’s Augustiner Chorherrenstift Sankt Florian III 2014 captures the epitome of a human hive, a grand library built on the collective effort of man.

The second section, “Alone Together,” observes the relationships among humans who are by nature social animals. Dona Schwartz outlines common junctures in contemporary families through the sequel series “On the Nest: Expecting” and “On the Nest: Empty Nester,” and Yeondoo Jung’s “Evergreen Tower” series portrays 31 pictures of families in the living room with the same-looking furniture.

Natan Dvir, ,2013 ⓒ Natan Dvir

The third section, “Flow,” traces the shifts in our living conditions as a result of civilization, covering topics of capital, oil, conveyor belts, and road vehicles. Edward Burtynsky’s Manufacturing #17, Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province portrays laborers as mechanical parts of a mass poultry processing factory in China, while Olivo Barbieri’s Site-Specific Mexico City 11 documents statuesque concrete towers indicative of future urban landscapes.

The fourth section, “Persuasion,” looks into the means of persuasion developed with the civilization of advertisement, propaganda, and marketing. Duplication, Façade series by Han Sungpil recounts works that focuses on the painting of a shroud covering the unpleasant appearance of a construction site, as “The Politics of the Office” series by Andreia Alves de Oliveira studies offices of an advertisement company, a law firm, and a brand consultancy over time.

Lauren Greenfield, , 2011 ⓒ Lauren Greenfield

The fifth section, “Control,” explores the ways in which authoritative institutions exercise their power. This section features Proviing Ground, a photograph of Dugway Proving Ground, a classified site in a remote region of Utah's Great Salt Lake Desert by David Maisel, and Inside the belly of an active cooling tower in Belgium. Billions of water droplets fall down while releasing heat to the environment by Reginald Van de Velde.

The sixth section, “Rupture,” discusses societal collapses and conflicts. Pablo López Luz monitors the Mexico-United States border as part of his “Border” series, and Xing Danwen addresses the issues of consumerism through disCONNEXION, B12, depicting a massive pile of electronic waste.

Wang Qingsong, , 2012 ⓒ Wang Qingsong

The seventh section, “Escape,” captures people in their leisure, consuming various “products” for their entertainment. Massimo Vitali’s “beach” series shows people enjoying the beach, while An-My Lê’s Film Set (“Free State of Jones”), Battle of Corinth, Bush, Louisiana peeks at the behind-the-scenes action of a film set reproducing a scene from the past.

The final section, “Next,” glances at the newly developing world of the 21st century. Robert Zhao Renhui’s A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World criticizes genetic manipulations of plants and animals, and Michael Najjar’s f.a.s.t. looks out over a 500-meter-diameter telescope.

For general enquiries, please call +82-2-2188-6000 (MMCA Gwacheon)

Civilization: The Way We Live Now is a co-production of MMCA and the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography (Executive Director Todd Brandow).

#Gwacheon #National Museum of Modern Contemporary Art #Korea #MMCA #Civilization #Now

    • Civilization: The Way We Live Now

      Project Director/ Todd Brandow

      Curators/ William A. Ewing, Holly Roussell

      Curatorial Assistants/ Laura Gomez-Schaer, Cynthia Gonzalez-Bréart

      Assistant Curator/ Juliette Hug

    • MMCA

      Director/ Bartomeu Mari

      Chief Curator/ Seungwan Kang

      Curator team/ Soojung Kang, Sunkang Chang, Suhyun Bae

      Design/ Yongju Kim, Yuna Kim

      Technical coordination/ Yishik Myung, Yeongung Bok, Taehyun Lee, Sangho Choi

      Construction/ Myonghee Han

  • ggc

    Writer/ GyeongGi Cultural Foundation

    About/ Everything about the GyeongGi arts and culture, GGCF

  • ggc

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