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The Straits Times of Wed June 8th leads its Home section with a piece titled "Open air sculptures feel the heat", with the following deck: "HDB asks sculptor to move displays, fearing people who sit on them could get burnt". The story is accompanied with pictures of the sculptures wrapped in blue tarp, of the sculptures unwrapped, and a portrait of the sculptor Chua Boon Kee.
The work, titled Water Bubbles (previously unknown to publicart.sg) was placed at Clementi Mall, and is commissioned by Surbana Corp for its patron, the Housing Development Board, and installed in January this year. Surbana is described by the ST as "a firm that provides planning, design and management of HDB projects". (It is the privatised design arm of HDB). However "feedback that the metal sculptures could get warm on hotter days" prompted HDB to ask the artist to relocate the works.
The work is made up of six pieces "made up to look like giant blobs of water" integrated with a fountain and placed in a public area. The work is planned as an integrated whole, with one shape in the fountain, two mounted on pillars, and two resting on the ground where they can easily be touched by the public (see photo).
The artist said he "was told last month to dismantle three sculptures and put them somewhere out of reach of the public". In the meantime they have been wrapped in tarpaulin. He he said to be "unhappy" by the newspaper, and is quoted saying "It will be a pity to break up the cohesion of the sculptures, as the water blobs on the ground and on the fountain are meant to complement one another aesthetically."
Given that the works were designed to be touched, even sat upon, the HDB and/or mall management would have had to consider how to prepare for any public complaints that come when people find the works hot to the touch. Of course it may be that the heat build up on a hot day is indeed very high, but the artist is quite experienced in working with metal, and certainly in the newspaper story does not admit that the works are in any way dangerous, even on the hottest of days. The newspaper story does give some additional context, that "Last month, a 10-year-old girl suffered second-degree burns to her left cheek and limbs when she fell on a metal sheet that had been heated by the sun after it was left on the ground during construction work." Perhaps this story moved the HDB to think safety first.