Seul '88 - Olympic Park - Seoul, Korea
Posted by: silverquill
N 37° 31.108 E 127° 07.601
52S E 334450 N 4154039
Quick Description: Soaring to a height of 78 feet, this dramatic steel sculpture, by Italian artist Mauro Staccioli, greets visitors in the central plaza of the Olympic Park near the gymnasiums and swimming pool where the 1988 Summer Olympiad was held here in 1988.
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Date Posted: 11/29/2011 7:01:05 PM
Waymark Code: WMD79N
It's hard to overstate the dramatic impression that this enormous, red, inverted arch has as one enters the central plaza of Olympic Park, with its sweeping ends thrusting skyward. The grandeur and inspiration of the Olympic spirit has been masterfully captured and conveyed by Italian sculptor, Mauro Staccioli. He gives the following account of the history and concept of this stupendous piece, Seul '88
First, the intervention came as a result of the refusal of my first project, which involved a triangular shape located in a different site. I asked for the time needed to choose a new location before a new form could be created. I evaluated various options until I found myself in the central square of the Olympic Park, actually. I chose this place, a place totally different from the first; I accepted the challenge of working in buildings just completed and I thought that nothing forbade me to repeat the experience of Besana, as even that place seemed reasonably good shape. I calculated the height of the intervention on the basis of one of the two neighboring buildings, 26 meters, while the length I chose the one corresponding to one third of that of the square.
I can think of the athletes on the podium with their arms raised in exultation. The form will open, creating a welcoming space, describing his sense of accomplishment in a suspended movement and in memory find fragments of what they see and experience: the Korean Olympic symbol with its upward movement . . . .
Staccioli's works are created like this on a grandiose scale, and may be found around the world. He employs simple geometric shapes - arcs, circles, disks, triangles, pyramids, etc. but, uses space and location almost as part of the sculpture itself.
From his official web site come theses biographical excerpts that shed more light on his work and how this piece follows his approach to art:
Mauro Staccioli was born in 1937 in Volterra, and earned a degree at the Art School in 1954. In 1960 he moved to Sardinia, where he started teaching in Cagliari and founded, along with a group of young Sardinian artists and intellectuals, the Gruppo di Iniziativa (Initiative Group). In 1963 he moved first to Lodi and subsequently to Milan. He became director of the Brera Art School in 1974/75 and in 1978/79, and then of the State Art School of Lovere (Bergamo).
His beginnings as an artist are strictly linked to his teaching experience and his intellectual and political activism. After an early stage in which he experimented with painting and engraving, at the end of the 60s he embraced sculpture, focusing on the relationship between art and society, and developing his original idea of a sculpture that is intrinsically related with the place - both in its physical and social connotations - in which and for which it was created. In Staccioli's work, therefore, places acquire a central role, for without them sculpture would not even exist.
Right from his debut, the artist had developed a language characterized by an essential geometry and by the use of simple materials such as concrete and iron, which implicitly alluded to the use that was made of them for urban architecture in those years.