Shanghai’s own version of 'yellow duck' leaves many unimpressed
By Yang Jian
LOCAL residents are less than enthused by Shanghai’s own version of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s giant yellow duck that was a mega hit in Hong Kong several months ago.
A renovated ferry, nicknamed “Shanghai Duck,” was given a roaring thumbs-down after it made its first appearance on the waters of Huangpu yesterday.
The “roasted duck” look was nowhere close to the work of the Dutch artist and even failed to meet the local artistic expectations, netizens moaned.
The local variant of the duck has a feathered head and roasted body and is part of the government-backed Bund Art Project. It ferries passengers from Jinling Road Dock and will be in service until the end of September.
“The local duck is a tribute and an interpretation of the Dutch version of the yellow duck,” said Han Beishi, the artist and chief designer of the project.
The Shanghai Duck, also dubbed “Ferry Love” or “Duck Prophet,” is designed in the shape of a Huangpu River ferry. Its head and roasted body was covered by some 10,000 pieces of newspapers and then printed in golden yellow like the “roasted Beijing Duck.”
The roasted body is a metaphor for this summer’s scorching weather that should remind people on the need to protect the environment, Han explained.
He said the thousands of newspapers covering the duck implied that “civilization, order and principles will all take a back seat” to entertainment.
The boat is decked up in LED that will be lit in the night. It has been secured by fire-proof foam plastic materials. Poets and musicians perform onboard in the “belly” of the duck.
But residents were clearly not impressed when the first pictures of the “Shanghai Duck” appeared online.
“I feel ashamed that a metropolis like Shanghai showcases such a strange artwork ... it cannot be called an artwork actually,” a local resident surnamed Ma told Shanghai Daily yesterday.
Some tourists took pictures on the boat with forks and spoons — having a go at the “roasted duck” impression.
The pictures of the duck boat were reposted thousands of times yesterday on the Weibo.com, the Chinese version of twitter, with nearly all the comments critical of the work.
It was among the latest wave of ducks to have swamped the country since Hofman’s 16.5-meter-tall, 19-meter-long yellow duck became a sensation at Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor. A KTV house in Xuhui District made a 2-meter-tall copy of the duck in June that attracted many locals who posed in front of it.
More copies have been seen in other Chinese cities such as Wuhan in Hubei Province, Qingdao in Shandong Province and Shenzhen in Guangdong Province. Real estate developers have also been using them to promote their businesses.
Rubber duck toys are available on taobao.com, China’s largest online shopping website. Many stores are accepting orders to make rubber ducks in various sizes at prices ranging from 10 yuan (US$1.60) to 800 yuan.
Hofman’s duck has been exhibited in 15 cities around the world since 2007.