Authorities Censor Works at SH Contemporary

NOW_ing, 2011, the controversial work by artist Chi Peng, deemed unfit for display.

NOW_ing, 2011, the controversial work by artist Chi Peng, deemed unfit for display.

SH Contemporary art fair has seen problems relating to the content or message of some featured works. Not surprising that this happens in a country that, despite its strong attempts to embrace contemporary art, remains strongly conservative.

The authorities have forced Steven Harris, director of M97 Gallery, to pull down a digitally manipulated photo of China’s legendary Monkey King facing Tiananmen Gate, by Beijing-based artist Chi Peng, for the value of 120,000 yuan ($18,900), leaving an empty space.

According to the Reuters agency, SH Contemporary director Massimo Torrigiani stated that censorship is an “important issue” but should not be overblown. “I’m more worried when I go around the world to fairs when there is allegedly no censorship whatsoever and I don’t see anything that’s worth censoring,” he said.

Controversy is a vital part of art. And it can create buzz. There is no doubt that these new incidents of taking down works will fuel the debate on censorship and controversial contemporary art.


Related article: http://www.collectortribune.com/2012/08/30/interview-with-massimo-torrigiani-director-of-sh-contemporary/

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One Response to "Authorities Censor Works at SH Contemporary"

  1. I tend to agree with Massimo Torrigiani, it’s one thing saying “we do not censor”, but then nobody shows anything remotely controversial! Controversy is an inherent factor of fine art. I’m not advocating that it should be a dominant factor, but good art must provoke a reaction, and for sure, that reaction will on occasions be negative!

    If Robert Mapplethorpe were alive he would be the first to agree (to name but one), and come to that, I’m no stranger myself! Ultimately, this action will only prove to draw more attention to both the show and the artist. If I were Massimo, I would simply hand an empty frame in place of the removed artwork, with the word “censored” written in the centre of it (ensuring to credit the artist of course!).

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