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.