Dear city council of Hong Kong and the headmaster of the University of Hong Kong
It has come to my attention that my Tiananmen Square crackdown memorial, "The Pillar of Shame" , is to be removed within 5 days (13th of Oct.). That is a demand from the Chinese authorities in a letter which content has been shared with me.
I am baffled since I have not received any official request to move my sculpture.
On the contrary I was led to believe that a small memorial garden would be laid out around the sculpture, when we moved it from its outdoors placement at the University of Hong Kong, where it has been standing now for many years, to its new placement at the podium at the Haking Wong building. I have a clear understanding of this agreement.
I was there myself in 2013 to oversee repairs on the memorial. And it was my clear understanding that the University of Hong Kong were informed about this and had given me and The Alliance a permanent permission to host the sculpture where it stands now.
I wonder why I am being informed about this through the press.
I want to emphasize that all sculptures that is exhibited abroad and for which there is no purchase contract and which is not paid for, in principle belongs to me personally.
In the case of "The Pillar of Shame" I have lent out the sculpture for permanent exhibition in Hong Kong, where it stand as a memorial over the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989. It was the agreement that The Alliance and the students at the University of Hong Kong should administer the permanent exhibition together and take on the cost of having the sculpture permanent display at the University of Hong Kong.
It will take a long time to move the sculpture. It is an extremely valuable piece of art, which after 24 years probably is a bit frail. Therefore there is a great possibility that the work of art will suffer irreparable damage if handled by any others than experts in handling art.
If, contrary to expectations, damage to the sculpture should occur, the university risks incurring a claim of compensation for that damage.
Jens Galschiøt – Denmark, 8. of Oct. - 2021