KAWS:Holiday organiser says allegations made against them are 'groundless'

They said they would apply to court to challenge the prohibitory injunction order.

Kayla Wong | November 14, 2021, 12:43 AM

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Hong Kong-based creative agency, AllRightsReserved (ARR), which installed the KAWS:Holiday exhibition at Marina Bay, claims allegations made against them are baseless.

ARR was ordered by the court on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 13, to halt the exhibition, all promotional activities, as well as the sale and distribution of merchandise related to the exhibition.

The court injunction was obtained by local non-profit organisation The Ryan Foundation (TRF), which accused ARR of breaching intellectual property rights and the misuse of confidential information.

TRF founder Ryan Su, who’s a lawyer and an art collector, told Zaobao that TRF had already went to Hong Kong in 2019 to discuss with ARR the possibility of holding the exhibition in Singapore, and had handed over certain contents and details.

However, although negotiations broke down eventually, the contents of the exhibition today were allegedly similar to what TRF sent over in the past, Su said.

In a statement released on Saturday night, ARR said the claims were "groundless" and that they would apply to court to challenge the prohibitory injunction order.

Its full statement is as follows:

"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.

Our company 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."

The creator of KAWS' Companion, the deformed Mickey Mouse-like character with cross for eyes, American artist Brian Donnelly, also claimed that TRF's allegations are baseless.

He said in a statement:

"Together with ARR, I am honoured to exhibit KAWS:HOLIDAY here in Singapore. The reception that I have received from the people here has been overwhelmingly positive and I am grateful to have this opportunity.

I have no contractual agreement with The Ryan Foundation. Their accusation is baseless."

The exhibition had made its stop in Singapore after its global tour that took place in places such as Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan and the UK.

KAWS: Holiday was supposed to be on display at The Float @ Marina Bay from Nov. 13 to Nov. 21.

The exhibition, which was supported by Singapore Tourism Board, opened to VIPs on Nov. 13, and would have opened to the public on Nov. 14.

The artwork venue, The Float @ Marina Bay, is temporarily closed.

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Top image by @kevouthere & @highonmars via AllRightsReserved