SINGAPORE: A court has ordered organisers of the KAWS:HOLIDAY artwork at The Float @ Marina Bay to stop the exhibition of a 42m-long inflatable and sales of related merchandise.
KAWS signature character COMPANION, created by international artist Brian Donnelly, was on display from Saturday (Nov 13) at The Float.
The free exhibition was set to run until Nov 21, and was organised by AllRightsReserved – a Hong Kong based studio – and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
But an interim injunction, applied for by non-profit organisation The Ryan Foundation, has been granted. It orders that the exhibition stop taking place, as it is in breach of the foundation’s intellectual property rights and confidentiality.
Sales and distribution of merchandise related to the exhibition have also been ordered to stop. Merchandise includes vinyl figures, tank tops and camping sets.
The court order is between The Ryan Foundation and AllRightsReserved, and neither STB nor KAWS is party to the order.
Ryan Su, the founder of the foundation, told CNA that the injunction was served to AllRightsReserved at 4.20pm on Saturday.
He added that the foundation had been in talks with AllRightsReserved to bring a KAWS exhibition to Singapore back in 2019, but it did not materialise.
They applied for the court order after they found out that an exhibition would be coming to Singapore.
The Ryan Foundation’s director Adrian Chan said in a separate statement: “The injunction could have been averted if questions were raised and stakeholders consulted.”
Responding to CNA's queries, AllRightsReserved said: "In relation to the recent groundless allegations made by a third party who attempted to cause interruption to the KAWS:HOLIDAY SINGAPORE exhibition, our company is in the process of seeking urgent legal advice and will apply to court to challenge the prohibitory injunction order."
The company added that it takes this incident very seriously and "will take all possible steps to ensure that this exhibition can progress in accordance with the laws of Singapore".
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused," it said.
The organisers added that the artwork venue, The Float @ Marina Bay, is temporarily closed.
In a statement to CNA, Donnelly said that he is "honoured" to exhibit KAWS:HOLIDAY in Singapore.
He added that the reception from the people here has been "overwhelmingly positive" and that he is "grateful" to have this opportunity.
"I have no contractual agreement with The Ryan Foundation. Their accusation is baseless," Donnelly said.
STB said it is aware of the court injunction against AllRightsReserved.
“We understand the organisers are exploring all options,” STB added.
The KAWS:HOLIDAY exhibition has travelled to several sites around the world, including Seoul, Taipei, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tokyo.