Július Koller. J.K. Ping-Pong Club
In the context of Verso and the Nitto ATP Finals Cultural Program, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo presents “J.K. Ping-Pong Club”, a project that brings together three performance installations and a selection of historical photographs by Slovakian artist Július Koller.
In March 1970, Július Koller used the invitation for a solo show in the Bratislava based Galéria mladých (Gallery of the Youth) to transform the exhibition space into a sports club. The environment of one ping-pong table, a series of sports flags, and a written announcement —to play the game barefoot — invited the visitors to play table tennis. J.K. Ping-Pong Club dissolves the boundaries between art and non-artistic activities. It creates an active environment both metaphorically and literally. Rather than joining the individual and the visual, J.K. Ping-Pong Club aims for the collective and the spiritual. Furthermore, with its declaration about fair play rules, it is a clear political statement, at the time against conservative communist consolidation after the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968. By playing a game and respecting or disrespecting its rules, the visitors who participate in an activity may open up an artistic and political space for action.
Audiences are invited throughout the project to play, making sport a field through which to look at politics and mediation exercises.
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