British artist Anish Kapoor has accused Chinese authorities of “blatant plagiarism”, claiming a public sculpture due to be unveiled in Karamay is “identical” to one he created for Chicago nearly 10 years ago.
Mr Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, now a huge tourist attraction, was installed in Chicago in 2006. The 110-ton structure was his first public outdoor work, designed to reflect the skyline and the clouds above.
Now the Indian-born artist has vowed to take legal action against the north-western oil town Karamay, arguing that the new commission is a copy of Cloud Gate.
The stainless steel sculpture surrounded by smaller reflective bubbles, due to open later this month, was reported in China’s state media as representing an oil bubble. Its construction at the site of the town’s first oil well has been ongoing since 2013.
Mr Kapoor said: “It seems in China today it is permissible to steal the creativity of others. I feel I must take this to the highest level and pursue those responsible in the courts.”
The Turner Prize winner called on the Mayor of Chicago to join in the action, adding: “The Chinese authorities must act to stop this kind of infringement and allow the full enforcement of copyright.”
One official from Karamay’s tourism bureau told The Wall Street Journal that any similarity was a coincidence, arguing that the Chicago sculpture “has a bean shape” and theirs “looks like an oil bubble”.
He continued: “You can’t say we’re not allowed to build a round sculpture because there already is a round one.”
One online commentator said it was “almost the same” as the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park, and another referred to “shanzhai”, a term used for knock-offs.
China has been accused before of copying art. In 2013, a series of huge yellow rubber ducks appeared in China, following the work Rubber Duck by Florentijn Hofman in cities around the world.
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