And Sometimes This Happens
June 02, 2018
The gallery says Lee Bul’s famous artwork Majestic Splendor (1991–2018) caught fire while it was being removed from the exhibition. Majestic Splendor is composed of sequin-covered rotting fish. When it was shown in 1997 at New York’s MoMA, it had to be removed as the smell made visitors feel sick. For the Hayward show, the fish were placed in potassium permanganate. Although it is not flammable, the chemical does increase the flammability of other combustible materials. On receiving advice, the gallery decided to withdraw the artwork, but it spontaneously combusted mid-removal.
However, “only minimal damage” was inflicted by the self-destructing art, the pre-destroyed magnificence of which can be savoured in detail here.