After Anish Kapoor, Another Artist Claims China Copied Her Public Artwork

Chinese authorities have yet to respond to the accusation.

Wendy Taylor, Timepiece (1973) at St. Katherine's Dock, London, with a view of the River Thames and Tower Bridge behind. Photo by Then and Now Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images.

In yet another case of alleged plagiarism, British artist Wendy Taylor’s 1973 work Timepiece has apparently been copied in China. Its doppelgänger is said to be sitting among apartments on the banks of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, The Independent reports.

The sculpture was spotted by an eagle-eyed vacationer in Shanghai, who took a photograph of the work and emailed it to the artist to confirm whether it was an original Taylor.

Though the creator behind the alleged copy remains unknown, Taylor was shocked by the eerie resemblance between the two sculptures: “At first I thought someone had done a clever Photoshop and changed the background, but then I looked more closely and thought ‘oh my god no, this is a complete copy’,” Ms Taylor told The Independent.

“I know it happens and I have had works copied before—they always say it’s a coincidence but in this case it’s absolutely blatant.”

The alleged copy of Timepiece. Courtesy Instagram.

The alleged copy of Timepiece in Shanghai. Courtesy Instagram.

Timepiece and its accused copy differ only in their angle that dictates the time. Otherwise, the two share a steel ring washer sundial with its central pointer—designed to resemble a dockyard nail—and a base made of up bricks mimicking London cobblestones.

Because the work is site-specific to its London context—made specifically as a tribute to the history of the Docklands by Tower Bridge—Taylor says “[they] cannot have been recreated by accident or coincidence.”

The accusation comes after fellow British artist Anish Kapoor’s complaint last August that his work, too, had been copied in China. “It seems that in China today it is permissible to steal the creativity of others,” he said in a statement.

China’s argument was that the sculpture resembling Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, which looks like a bean, was in fact intended to represent “a big oil bubble,” and not the famous Kapoor work located in Chicago.

According to The Independent, Ms. Taylor’s attempts to get in touch with China’s cultural office in London have been fruitless, and she has yet to find the creator of the Chinese sculpture.

“I would like to see more pressure put on the authorities to do something about it—even if it’s just to admit it’s a copy,” she said. “That’s the only thing one can hope to come out of it is to raise pressure for the future.”

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