OWL Magazine Korea

Hammering Man wearing Santa Hat at Gwanghwamun Square (Photo)

The area around Gwanghwamun in Seoul is a densely populated office district and can be considered a place symbolizing the history of Seoul. From Gyeongbokgung, which symbolizes 600 years of the Joseon Dynasty, to the Six-Intersection Square formed in front of Gwanghwamun, it preserves various historical traces.

“Gwanghwamun Hammering Man”

In Gwanghwamun Square, you can find various public sculptures. One of the most prominent is the Hammering Man, erected on June 4, 2002.

Located by the corner across from the “Seoul Museum of History,” the Hammering Man is a statue of a figure hammering continuously for 20 years.

“A Work Symbolizing the Dignity of Labor and the Loneliness of Modern Individuals”

The Hammering Man is a work symbolizing the dignity of labor and the loneliness of modern individuals. The artist, Jonathan Borofsky, sketched the Hammering Man based on a photograph taken in 1976 of a shoemaker in Tunisia hammering.

“Hammering Man Strikes Every 35 Seconds”

The Hammering Man is not just a stationary statue, but a moving one. From 8 AM to 7 PM every day, he hammers once every 35 seconds. With his neck bent and a hammer held in his right hand, he repetitively strikes downward. This daily motion resembles the actions of humans who toil each day.

However, as a symbol of labor, the Hammering Man rests on weekends, holidays, and Labor Day. Therefore, to witness the statue in motion, it’s best to visit on weekdays, not weekends.

The Hammering Man stands at a height of 22 meters, weighing a massive 50 tons. The weight of his right arm, which moves, alone amounts to 4 tons. It is constructed from materials representing industry: iron and aluminum.

“Donning a Santa Hat and Boots for Christmas”

To conclude the year and celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Hammering Man received a festive makeover. In anticipation of the upcoming Christmas, he transformed, donning a Santa hat and boots.

Nevertheless, even on weekdays, he continues to hammer diligently. Could this macroscopic representation signify the modern individual who must persistently labor, even during festivals like Christmas and year-end celebrations?

“Seoul Gwanghwamun Statue, Hammering Man”

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