By Kwon Mee-yoo
Singer-turned-artist Kwon Ji-an, better known by her stage name Solbi, has been invited to the Barcelona International Art Fair later this year for a cake artwork that was accused of plagiarizing a Jeff Koons sculpture.
The artist's agency, M.A.P Crew, announced that Kwon was invited to the Fira Internacional d'Art de Barcelona (FIABCN), slated for Dec. 3 and 4 in the Spanish city.
FIABCN's founder and director Natal Vallve invited Kwon to the sixth edition of the international art fair, which will be held at the Maritime Museum of Barcelona, and will showcase an exciting selection of international emerging and established contemporary artists and galleries.
Kwon took part in another international art event, La Nuit Blanche Paris, in 2019 and presented a performance painting to her song "Violet," combining contemporary art and K-pop.
Vallve paid attention to Kwon's works afterwards and recommended the singer-turned-artist to the art fair's committee.
Kwon was embroiled in a controversy at the end of last year, as she posted pictures of a freestyle marble cake and her making it. At first, she wrote, "I made this cake in my own way." However, people alleged her of copying American artist Koons' "Play-Doh" sculpture, so Kwon changed the caption to mention that it is a homage to Koons. She later posted a video of herself eating the cake with the caption, "Just a cake."
The artist clarified that she was inspired by Koons' iconic sculpture, as well as by children playing with clay, for her free-form cake, and that she would not have chosen one of Koons' well-known works if she had intended to plagiarize.
"Kwon's Just a Cake represents cake unwelcomed as it lost its function of celebration during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also raised the alarm about cyberbullying as the artist received malicious comments criticizing her of being a pirate," an official of M.A.P Crew said.
"The cake controversy was considered an event worthy of contemporary art by Vallve. He told us that he was intrigued by how a cake, an everyday object, came into Kwon's life and became art. The controversy around it is closely related to modern-day cyberbullying issues and the online community in Korea."
The agency said "Just a Cake" showed how an edible cake evolved into art and Kwon will continue to work on the theme in other mediums such as sculpture, video and installation art.
"Kwon transcended the cake happening into an artwork, reflecting insights into online culture and humor. She is planning to hold a solo exhibition on Just a Cake," the agency added.
Debuted as main vocalist of K-pop group Typhoon in 2006, Kwon began her artistic career in the early 2010s, presenting the "Fantasy" and "Trace" series in 2015. Last year, Kwon unveiled the "Palette Garden" series, comparing her energy and passion to the liveliness of a garden.