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Artist Ned Kahn Transforms Seoul’s Water Purification Tower into an Artwork

Bird’s-eye view of ‘Rain Veil’ by Ned Kahn ©Seoul Metropolitan Government

A 32-meter-high funnel-shaped water purification tower at Garak Market intersection in Seoul, 38 years old and inactive for 20 years, will be transformed into an art installation by world-renowned architect and installation artist Ned Kahn.

Built in 1986, the Garak Market Water Purification Tower was an elevated underground water storage tank that supplied water to the market, but was shut down in 2004 when the water supply was changed and remained dormant for more than 20 years. It is currently the only remaining water tower in Seoul and has been preserved after a redesign in 2009.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to open the newly redesigned the tower to the public in June with a public art project called “SAM (Seoul Aqua Monument)-932,” which will feature Ned Kahn’s installation Rain Veil, with the theme of the vitality of water. ‘SAM-932’ is named after the long history of the water purification tower, the importance of water, and the street number (932) where the water purification tower is located.

Ned Kahn ©Seoul Metropolitan Government

Ned Kahn, the artist of the iconic sculpture Rain Oculus at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, proposed his Veil series to an international competition for the Garak Market Water Purification Tower organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The project was selected for its ability to capture the physicality of rain, which is created by the cycles of the climate, by adding a veil that flows and moves in the wind, a method of installation art that has never been attempted in Seoul before.

In addition, the interior of the water purification tower will be filled with artworks created by citizens. The interior of the tower, which will be unveiled in June, will feature a large-scale collaborative artwork created by 100 citizens who stacked ‘pieces of the sea’ one by one to form a cross-section of the ocean.

20 artists will be recruited from April to participate in the ‘Garak Art Market’ that will be held in conjunction with the tower opening in June. The ‘Garak Art Market’ is a win-win situation between the retailers of Garak Market and young artists, with 20 teams of artists and designers working on themes such as water and agricultural products, and resident merchants selling these items.

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