Controversial fine art in our Fine City

Three artworks that have raised eyebrows in the past few years
By Gwen Pew |
Simon Fujiwara - Welcome to the Hotel Munber

'Welcome to the Hotel Munber' by Simon Fujiwara

At the Singapore Biennale 2011, the British - Japanese artist set up an installation that looked like a regular Spanish bar. But peer closer and you’d have found items that reference homosexuality – such as pages from gay porno magazines. The Singapore Art Museum had the offending images removed without informing the artist, and Fujiwara closed the exhibition, stating that without them, ‘the work failed to convey the necessary meaning’.


Untitled performance by T Venkanna

A few months after the Fujiwara incident, the Indian artist presented a performance piece where he sat naked on a bench in front of a replica of Frida Kahlo’s painting, ‘The Two Frida’. People could fork out $250 to sit next to him and pose for a photo. This took place behind a black curtain and only those above 21 could enter, but the artist subsequently cancelled his remaining appearance after being questioned by the police for public nudity.

Vertical Submarine

'Eville' by Vertical Submarine

Anger erupted after a flyer urging people to ‘kill stray cats’ was passed around a few months back. But they were actually part of a project, Eville, by local art collective Vertical Submarine. The artists later stated, ‘We do not advocate or condone the killing of stray cats. On the contrary, we are pleased that the issue of cat abuse is highlighted.’ Clearly, the logo on the flyer that reads ‘Red Herring Conservation Society’, wasn’t enough of a hint.

More to explore