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Israeli artist perks up an old Taipei market with world’s largest polymorph design

Israeli artist perks up an old Taipei market with world’s largest polymorph designArtistic decoration is always one way to beautify a city. Internationally renowned Israeli artist Yaacov Agam is famed for such creations and has recently renovated Taipei’s historic landmark Shuiyuan Market into a super-size art installation.

“This colorful and vibrant artwork is a testimony to the friendship and collaboration between Taiwanese and Israelis,” said Raphael Gamzou, the head of Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (ISECO) in the inauguration ceremony for the art work held May 9.

Heart of the Fountainhead, world’s largest square polymorph design, employs 177 colors and utilizes a non-thermoplastic coating that will minimize the need for maintenance efforts in the future.
“We live in our cities surrounded by visual aggression. In Taipei, this aggression is accompanied by very visually ugly and repulsive air conditioning units,” said Agam.

Thus, he began by wrapping up the earth yellow building in rainbow colors. These can be appreciated from three angles. Seen from the left side, blue and white stripes simulate the waves of the ocean. From the front, rainbow colors are reflected on the waves, gleaming and spirited in their movement. And from the right, all the colors blend together to symbolize the diverse culture of Taipei.

Agam, aged 82, is an Israeli and an internationally renowned artist who is considered a pioneer of kinetic art. He is also known for his many public art projects in major cities around the world. His cooperation with Taiwan dates back to two years ago when he erected colorful columns for the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung.

As one of Taipei’s oldest markets in the bustling Gongguan area, Shuiyuan Market has long been a center of vitality and business. Yet the original exterior of the building lost its sense of harmony with the streets and surrounding structures after extensive renovation in the neighborhood.

Thus the Taipei City Government included the market building as one of the major landmarks in its “New World of Gongguan” urban renewal project and “Taipei Beautiful” renovation campaign.

Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin said his administration would enforce thoroughgoing measures to ensure the well-being of this old building in its surrounding area.

Deputy Mayor Lee Yong-ping further promised to complete the renovation of pedestrian crossovers and traffic flyovers before the opening of the Taipei International Flora Expo.

Taipei City has also launched a special project as part of the celebration. From May 9 on, shoppers will receive one sticker per purchase at Shuiyuan Market. When a total of six stickers have been collected, the shopper can redeem them for a souvenir, valid while supplies last with a total of 200 available.