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Organizer fails to clear up dispute over controversial exhibition

2015/09/07 23:13:08

Taipei, Sept. 7 (CNA) The organizer of a controversial exhibition in Taipei on Monday failed to clear up the dispute surrounding some of its displays, issuing only a short statement reiterating its previous remarks that all of the paintings in its exhibit are authentic.

“All of the paintings on display at the venue are authentic, and all have been carefully confirmed and appraised by our curatorial team when the artworks were borrowed from their original owners,”organizer TST Art of Discovery Co. (京銓藝術) said in a statement posted on the exhibition's Facebook page.

"There is absolutely no malicious deception on the part of the organizers," TST Art of Discovery said.

It added that those who have questioned the authenticity, painter and date of the paintings at "The Face of Leonardo, Images of a Genius" exhibition should provide certificates of authenticity to prove their points.

However, in its 315-word statement, the organizer failed to provide any evidence for its own assertion that one of its disputed flowers paintings was done by Italian painter Paolo Porpora (1617-1673), instead of Mario Nuzzi (1603-1673), as an Italian auction house has said, and as some experts have suggested.

The painting made headlines recently after a Taiwanese boy tripped and poked a hole in it at the exhibition.

Doubts have been raised since about artworks on display at the exhibition, particularly the painting that the organizer has called "Flowers" and a so-called "self portrait" of Leonardo da Vinci.

Italian auction house Casa d'Aste Della Rocca said Saturday that its experts have confirmed that the flowers painting is by Mario Nuzzi (1603-1673), not Porpora as the organizer has claimed.

Alessandro Vezzosi, an expert on Da Vinci and curator of the Museo Ideale Da Vinci in Tuscany, and Tomaso Montanari, an Italian professor of art history, have also both said that the "self portrait" of Leonardo da Vinci was not painted by the Italian master himself, contrary to the organizers' claims.

The organizer has stated that the total value of the 55 paintings on display is NT$10 billion (US$308.31 million), but many have doubted whether it is possible for such valuable paintings to go on display at the exhibition venue at Huashan 1914 Creative Park without maximum security and rigorous temperature and humidity control.

There also appears to be lax security measures at the exhibition, with visitors free to carry their bags into the exhibition. The Taiwanese who accidentally poked a hole in the flowers painting was seen carrying a drink in his hand at the time of his stumble.

David Sun (孫紀璿), head of TST Art of Discovery Co., could not be reached by phone as of press time on Monday, after repeated attempts by CNA to contact him.

When approached by reporters at the exhibition on Saturday, Sun said his company and the Italian curator of the exhibition, Andrea Rossi, are reaching the Italian curatorial team and will give the Taiwanese public a "clear and comprehensive" explanation by Monday.

(By Christie Chen)
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