Monday, June 28, 2010

RTLS: Public Art

Reason #5 To Love Seoul:

Jonathan Borofsky's Hammering Man

A fellow American, perhaps?

Seoul is a city full of art: sculptures, paintings, calligraphy, gardens, fountains and other installations grace the streets of the metropolis, particularly inside or around large office buildings. Jonathan Borofsky's Hammering Man is a particularly well-loved example. Located in front of the Heungkuk Life Insurance tower, the 50-ton, 22-meter-tall kinetic sculpture has become an important city landmark. Seoul's Hammering Man, which is the largest of a series of Hammering Man sculptures in cities around the world, strikes his hammer every minute and 17 seconds.

Much of this wave of urban beautification has occurred during the past decade: in 1995, the Korean government passed a law requiring that at least 1 percent of construction costs be dedicated to public art for all buildings with more than 10,000 square meters of floor space. The happy result is a wealth of intriguing art installations throughout the city, including sculptures such as Borofsky's Hammering Man.

Artist's statement:
"The Hammering Man celebrates the worker. He or she is the village craftsman, the coal miner, the computer operator, the farmer or the aerospace worker—the people who produce the commodities on which we depend...At its heart, society revers the worker. The Hammering Man is the worker in all of us."
- Jonathan Borofsky