Ping-Pong Go Round
First Performed in:
“Construction in Process VI - The Bridge”
April 1998 Melbourne Australia
Organized by Artists Museum
Table tennis has been around for nearly a century now. As a sport it is said to be almost equal for the women’s game as compared to that of the man’s.
The game itself is like a dialogue between players on opposite sides. Would it be possible to change its shape to that like a conference table? By making it a doughnut round shape with no borders towards the left and right side, a different perception of the limitations of the preceding game gives new possibilities of a broader dialogue.
A round Ping-Pong table was made out of plywood. It was made up of 15 tabletops to be set up as doughnut shaped. The diameter was 6 meters across. Players play from inside to another player on the outside.
After constructing it, the table was set up for a day in a community center for play by casual visitors. It looked like a sculpture by itself and yet when it is being played it becomes a structure for a sport or game.
The next day it was set up in front the General Post Office, in a pedestrian mall in Melbourne. Again casual passers-by were encouraged to play on the Ping-Pong table. On the third day it was set up in a vacated building where various other installations were also set up for a month long exhibition.
"Ping-Pong Go Round" at other locations:
The project was re-enacted in the exhibition,"Lee Wen: Lucid Dreams In The Reverie Of The Real" in 2012 at the Singapore Art Museum with two versions. An Olympic standard length large version that was located in the front of SAM@8Q the annexe block and a smaller one in the main museum where the other works of the exhibition were shown. At first I was not too happy to present the smaller one as it was scaled down to fit into the classroom dimensions of SAM that was after all a renovated building from the old St.Joseph Institution. But as it turns out the smaller table had its advantages, as Margaret Tan of Taiwan's Bamboo Curtain observed the smaller one is more intimate where players have to hit the ball with more care, just like a more considered speech at the international meetings or conferences of globalisation and diverse societies and countries of multi-culturalism.
Ping-Pong Go Round was presented in:
1. “Construction in Process VI - The Bridge” Melbourne Australia, Organized by Artists Museum, 21 March-30 April 1998
2. "Lee Wen: Lucid Dreams In The Reverie Of The Real" , Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 20 April - 10 June 2012
3. 7th Kuala Lumpur Triennial BARRICADE , PUBLIKA, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 16 February - 02 March 2013
4. “The Realm in the Mirror, the Vision out of Image”, Suzhou Jinji Lake Art Museum, SuZhou, China, 9 May 2013 – 18 August 2013
5. Concept Context Contestation: art and the collective in Southeast Asia, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Bangkok, Thailand, 13 December 2013 – 2 March 2014
6. Roppongi Art Night, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Midtown Plaza, Tokyo, Japan, 19, 20, April 2014
7. Art Basel, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), Hong Kong, 14 - 18 May, 2014
8. The Roving Eye: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia, ARTER, Istanbul, TURKEY 18 September 2014 to 5 January 2015.
9. The Prudential Singapore Eye, Art Science Museum, Singapore 17 January – 28 June, 2015
10. Whose Game is It?, Royal College Of Art, London, Curating Contemporary Art Exhibitions 2015, 6 March 2015 to 22 March 2015
11. (Art Garden) Le Printemps 2015 Gare Saint Sauveur, Lille, France, 15 April to 06 September. 2015
12. The Esplanade Presents National Day Celebrations, 9 – 30 Sep 2015
13. START, Saatchi Gallery, London, Prudential Eyezone, Co-curated by ArtScience Museum, September 2015
14. 2015 Artist Making Movement , 5th Asian Art Biennale, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts ,TAICHUNG 403 TAIWAN, R.O.C.
Three models of Production:
I have decided after recent exhibitions to finalize that there will be three models of production.
The Three Models
1) The first one is the Suzhou model. From hereon it will be known as “Ping-Pong Go Round (Suzhou model)”. Each table retains the original playing surface, metal legs and has to be made with actual ping-pong tables already made by manufacturers. Preferably used tables so that the playing surfaces reveal a past history. The dimensions and proportions of this work are therefore fixed and based on its original being of the international standard dimensions (2.74 m (9.0 ft) long, 1.525 m (5.0 ft) wide, and 76 cm (2.5 ft) high) recommended by International Table Tennis Federation. Hence it cannot be changed since it is to be made from old actual standard tables. The Suzhou model is in an edition of 4 + 1 artist's proof.
“Ping-Pong Go Round (Suzhou model)” edition no.1 has been acquired by a private collector in Singapore.
(I have decided to negotiate again with the maker of the first table of this model to see a possibility to make at least one more and to be donated to Suzhou as it was first made for the exhbition: “The Realm in the Mirror, the Vision out of Image”, Suzhou Jinji Lake Art Museum, SuZhou. Due to their demand to make this an exclusive to the said museum, I did not agree but I would like to open the discussion again out of goodwil, lso that the people in Suzhou or China should retain at least one for the appreciation of this work.)
2) The second model is the Roppongi model, From hereon it will be known as “Ping-Pong Go Round (Tokyo/Roppongi model)”(Each table has a green playing surface, legs and supports are constructed from solid-plywood, to be made by approved skilled carpenters). The dimensions and proportions of this work are fixed and cannot be changed. This Roppongi model is in an edition of 10.
- Collectors are allowed to remake the work if it is damaged, but must destroy the original piece immediately.
- Mori Museum has no.1 of this edition of 10. The work is currently in the possession of Satoko-san, deposited in the carpenter's workshop in Japan and will be transferred to the Mori Art Museum on finalized acquisition procedures.
- Lee Wen needs to request from Satoko the exact choice of wood and the production dimensions. The green surface is of any degree of darkness having a Y-value under illuminant D65 of not more than 30% (CIE system), defined also as a medium-dark matte green.
- Edition No.2 has been acquired by ARTUR in Istanbul, Turkey
3) The third model is exhibition multiples as Artist Model. From hereon it will be known as “Ping-Pong Go Round (multiples model)” (Each table has a green playing surface, legs and support made from plywood of any quality) The dimensions and proportions are variable according to exhibition space. These multiples must be destroyed 3 years after their exhibition. (the ones exhibited in. Extensions for limited period (Maximum 5 years) is negotiable before finally either acquiring it under above two models of acquisition or destroying it after maximum 5 years from date of production.
1. "Lee Wen: Lucid Dreams In The Reverie Of The Real" , Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 20 April - 10 June 2012
2. 7th Kuala Lumpur Triennial BARRICADE , PUBLIKA, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 16 February - 02 March 2013
3. Concept Context Contestation: art and the collective in Southeast Asia, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Bangkok, Thailand, 13 December 2013 – 2 March 2014
- the exhibitor enters into an agreement with Lee Wen for the right to make the multiples for exhibition, if and only if they agree to destroy the multiples after 3 years. Exhibitor pays for production costs and provides Lee Wen an exhibition fee by mutual agreement.
- When destroyed, exhibitor has to send back one piece of the table to Lee Wen as a documentation relic.
- All exhibitors should give information of any other exhibitions they show the work in and also provide all documentation in the form of digital photographs or video as well as any public media published or recorded.
Posthumous exhibition in Anyang, Korea: News from Satoko Lee
Oct - 15 Dec 2019
It is still going round the world. It is now in Korea.
Lee Wen is still alive.
ソウル近郊自然公園での国際トリエンナーレ（6th ANYANG PUBLIC ART PROJECT) リーウェンの代わりにテレビ取材を受けました。ドーナッツ型の卓球台は、国連会議等で使われる円卓。また、ニクソンと毛沢東がピンポン外交で握手をしたという歴史的背景もあります。知らない者同士が、このピンポン台があることで、自然にプレーし笑顔になっていく。何度もそれを目撃しました。丸い卓球台。オーストラリア、シンガポール、日本、マレーシア、香港、タイ、フランス、イギリス、トルコ、ベトナム、中国、韓国。ピンポンゴーラウンドは、世界を巡ってます。
I received a TV coverage instead of Lee wen, the international triennale (6TH WMN PUBLIC ART PROJECT) at the natural park near Seoul. Table Tennis Table for donut type is used in the United Nations Conference, etc. Also, there is also a historical background that Nixon and Mao Zedong shook hands in ping pong diplomacy. People who don't know have this ping pong, they play naturally and smile. I witnessed it many times. Round Table Tennis in Taichung. Australia, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, France, UK, Turkey, Vietnam, China, South Korea. Ping pong go round is all over the world.