An interactive, round ping-pong table installation at the Sports Hub Singapore has garnered criticism online for being strikingly similar to an iconic artwork by prominent Singapore artist Lee Wen.
Lee, 58, a Cultural Medallion recipient, told The Straits Times: “I just found out about this a few minutes ago when Tan Pin Pin sent me the photo over Facebook. I am a bit upset because I was not informed, and my permission was not asked for.”
He has been trying to reach the Sports Hub, adding: “I don’t want to blame anybody, but I think Sports Hub should at least give me some credit or ask for my permission before putting this out. I’m now just asking around what is going on, and checking if there is any infringement of copyright.”
Ping-Pong Go Round was first created and performed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1998. Lee had envisioned the game as “a dialogue between players on opposite sides”, using a doughnut shape for the table and creating new ways to play the game. It was a popular installation outside the Singapore Art Museum’s annexe, SAM @ 8Q, in 2012, exhibited as part of a survey of Lee’s work.
The work also travelled to Art Basel Hong Kong in March, where it proved popular with visitors to the art fair.
Lee, a performance artist, is best known for his Yellow Man performances, where he paints himself in bright yellow poster paint. He received the Cultural Medallion in 2005.