Kaws exhibition organiser starts defamation proceedings against The Ryan Foundation, directors

The Singapore showcase at The Float @ Marina Bay, which ended last month, was the seventh stop in the Kaws:Holiday tour. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - AllRightsReserved (ARR), organiser of last month's Kaws:Holiday exhibition in Singapore, has started defamation proceedings against The Ryan Foundation (TRF) and its directors Ryan Su and Adrian Chan.

ARR, a Hong-Kong based creative studio, said on Tuesday (Dec 14) that it had filed a statement of claim in the High Court of Singapore "for various statements and publications that were made against ARR relating to the exhibition".

The showcase of popular American artist Kaws' 42m-long inflatable at The Float @ Marina Bay was scheduled to open to the public from Nov 14 to 21.

However, the organiser was ordered to stop the exhibition after TRF obtained an interim injunction order from the State Courts, citing breach of intellectual property rights and breach of confidence.

The interim injunction also ordered a stop to the sale and distribution of relevant merchandise relating to the exhibition, and all advertising and publicity.

The Straits Times understands that TRF - a non-profit organisation founded by lawyer Ryan Su - had been in talks with ARR in 2019 to make the event happen in Singapore, before negotiations fell apart, and that the order was served on Nov 13, a day before the showcase was scheduled to open to the public.

On Nov 15, the court lifted its earlier order to halt the exhibition.

"By that time, the exhibition was suspended for two days," ARR said.

ARR added in its statement that after the injunction was lifted, the court had further ordered, among other things, "that there be an inquiry as to damages sustained by ARR by reason of the interim injunction order which ARR would shortly embark upon".

On Tuesday, a statement attributed to Mr Chan said: "We are taking legal advice and will respond at the appropriate time."

The Kaws:Holiday Singapore showcase was slated to run from Nov 13 to 21. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Last month, TRF had also started contempt of court proceedings in the High Court against ARR and a string of other parties, on the grounds that they had breached the earlier order to stop the exhibition and its related publicity events.

Kaws, whose real name is Brian Donnelly, is known for his toys, sculptures, paintings and prints.

The Singapore showcase, which ended last month, was the seventh stop in the Kaws:Holiday tour, which has also travelled to Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom and outer space.

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