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New Balls, Please!


It is probably a good thing that dogs (understandably) aren't allowed in the Stephen Friedman Gallery because I'm pretty sure my ball-obsessed spaniel would be unable to control herself! 12,166 tennis balls on 1.3km of shelving make up the evolving installation by David Shrigley. The great news is that children most certainly are welcome and they are going to LOVE it.

This bonkers installation is inspired by Shrigley's experience of his dog's behaviour with tennis balls (wanting to exchange them rather than keep them). As instructed, I took with me a sandy old tennis ball of Ziggy's and switched it for a pristine brand new one from one of the shelves. As a reward, I was given a specially-designed pin badge. It's early days (the exhibit has only just opened), but already the spaces are dotted with tennis balls of varying colours, bearing names and messages. Some are chewed, one has a mask and wobbly eyes and another has a big red heart on it. As the weeks go by it will be fascinating to see the decay and accumulated dirt: the unanimity of the rows of perfect clean bright yellow balls gradually replaced by a muddle of manky faded balls. The quite distinct smell of brand new balls will no doubt fade too, or worse!

This is evolving interactive art at it's best. Full of humour and great fun. Just don't forget your tennis ball!

David Shrigley: Mayfair Tennis Ball Exchange

Stephen Friedman Gallery, 25028 Old Burlington Street, W1S 3AN

19 November 2021 until 8th January 2022

Open Tuesday to Saturday.

Entry free, no booking


Anya Waddington 23rd November 2021

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