The Wick List

Viewing David Shrigley: Mayfair Tennis Ball Exchange

Step into Stephen Friedman Gallery in Mayfair and you’ll encounter twelve thousand tennis balls arranged neatly on a series of shelves lining the gallery walls. Not surprisingly, the visual effect is mesmerising. It feels as though you’re wandering around a monumental piece of op art. The best part? The installation is interactive. Visitors are invited to bring an old tennis ball and exchange it with a new one on display. Participants are rewarded with a pin badge decorated with its title.

Conceived by British artist David Shrigley, Mayfair Tennis Ball Exchange explores notions of commerce and community, while also questioning the traditional roles of art and exhibition spaces. Shrigley says the idea for the work came from playing with his dog. ‘My dog likes tennis balls,’ he says. ‘I throw them and she chases them. [Her interest is] more about exchange than possession.’

Also shown in the exhibition is a large-scale digital clock in the style of those found at airports or train stations. Although the time is shown correctly, the display is out of focus. For Shrigley, the work speaks to those excluded from everyday conventions. A selection of works on paper will also be released online during the show.

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19 November 2021 — 08 January 2022
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