The Art of Table Tennis

Artsy Editorial
May 17, 2013 2:54PM

It was in 19th-century England that a dining table was first given a second life as an impromptu, indoor substitute for tennis. It was called Wiff-Waff, and though the name has faded, the game remains—otherwise known as table tennis, or ping-pong. As artists have historically been keen on game-playing—think Marcel Duchamp and the 20th-century avant-garde who connected chess to their artistic practice—in the same vein, the paddles of ping-pong have found their way into the hands of artists.

Watch Alec Soth play a match in multi-colored Rodarte pajamas or Snarkitecture flood a stage with thousands of ping pong balls, at right, among the many playful spins on the classic game.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019