Sun, Dec 22, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Keelung duck exhibition ruffles artist’s feathers

Staff writer, with CNA

The world famous Rubber Duck sculpture by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman floats in Keelung Harbor yesterday. The artist did not attend the ceremony because he was upset about the arrangement for his rubber duck installation on display in Keelung and criticized the organizers for turning it into a “commercial circus.”

Staff writer, with CNA

About 8,000 admirers braved the cold yesterday to watch the Rubber Duck sculpture at Keelung’s harbor, despite the absence of its creator, who reportedly was upset over the poor arrangements for the show.

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman was upset about the arrangement for his Rubber Duck installation on display in Keelung and criticized the organizers for turning it into a “commercial circus,” local media reported yesterday, citing a letter written by the artist.

A day earlier, Hofman canceled his trip to inaugurate the duck display in the northern city, expressing disappointment over how the sculpture is being portrayed in Taiwan.

“The rubber duck must show a place in a different perspective as it is, pure and simple, but now we learn it is turning into a commercial circus which we don’t approve of and of course dislike,” Hofman’s team was quoted as saying in a response to the Chinese-language United Evening News’ request for his opinion on the Keelung exhibition.

The emergence of unauthorized rubber duck-themed merchandise has also upset the artist, local media reported.

Among the products allegedly infringing copyright are rubber duck-themed stored value cards used for transportation or other payments, issued by the Taiwan Smart Card Corp (台灣智慧卡公司).

The company held a press conference on Friday evening and explained that it has acquired permission from the organizers to use the duck’s image.

It promised to correct any mistakes that could have resulted in a misunderstanding.

Earlier last week, Hofman also rejected the organizers’ proposal to make a 360-degree rotation of the rubber duck, as it contravenes his idea of simplicity and tranquility.

Still, in the letter, the team said Hofman and his family liked Taiwan and enjoyed the previous legs of the duck campaign in the southern city of Kaohsiung and the northern county of Taoyuan.

Hofman’s team said they are investigating whether the organizers of the display in Keelung have violated the terms of their contract, adding that they will keep an eye on further developments regarding the duck’s display in the port city.

Meanwhile, bundled up in scarfs and jackets, fans of the 18m-tall, 1,300kg duck yesterday flooded to the pier and took photographs with the installation art.

There were even fans from Greater Taichung who took a 5am train to be on time to get a peep at the duck.

The Keelung government estimated that the rubber duck, which has created a craze on its tour to Kaohsiung and Taoyuan earlier this year, would attract more than 6 million visitors during its 50-day exhibition.

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