The metal fence in front of us, the mental fence within us, ping – pong, how do we communicate?

2023, Lapua Art Museum. Lapua (FIN)

A project in the group show Tuuletus! at the Lapua art museum

Lapua Art Museum’s Tuuletus! (celebration) exhibition approaches the world of sports through art. The works of art in the exhibition inspire thoughts about sports. The important thing is not the competition, winning and the achieved awards, but the focus is on the sports performances recorded by the artists in different ways, sports events, venues and the many emotions and meanings related to sports. Sport can also be a tool for making art.

Tapio Korjus, 1988 olympic gold medalist in javelin, making a speech at the opening of the exhibition.

In the works of the exhibition, various experiences, experiences and perspectives related to sports are recorded as photographs, spatial works, paintings and videos. The way to approach the subject is different for each artist. Sports can be the artist’s personal interest or it has provided the artist with a frame of reference for various phenomena. The exhibition reflects on the meaning and value of the prize won in the competition. In addition, we get to know the passion of a sports fan and the pain-filled ecstasy of an ultra runner. There are also works in which sports performance, a moving body and the image of physicality are used as means of expression. Aesthetic questions related to sports are also present in the exhibition. The old photos of gymnasts from the Pyhälahti photography studio, taken from the photo archive of Lapua city museums, on the other hand, tell about the sculptural nature of sports photos from the beginning of the 20th century and the everyday environment.

The metal fence in front of us, the mental fence within us, ping – pong, how do we communicate?

After the fall of the wall, many of us had a feeling that borders and restrictions will play a much smaller role in the future. But with hindsight, we are experiencing the opposite again for a longer period. Physical and mental boundaries, fences and walls are built up or grow in many places and in different contexts.

In 2012 finnfemfel led a workshop in Wismar, Germany, with participants from many different countries and a large group of students from China. For the closing exhibition finnfemfel made a spontaneous but very telling work. Through a brilliant relocation with a glass wall between the table halves, the table tennis table, which was usually used for games and relaxation, got a whole new meaning. Despite the glass wall which in some form also represented the present language barrier, there were other creative options to play with each other: “Ping-Pong – East meet West, how do we communicate”.
New place, new form, Lapua. Instead of window glass, the ping-pong table is divided by a metal fence. Is this a hermetic and absolute condition? Sport, with its own rules, quite often reflects the better and worse sides of politics, culture and society. In concrete terms, the work in question raises the questions: is there a right or wrong side, who protects or separates who from what and why? Who is on or offside?

After all, do there still exist other opportunities to communicate and interact with each other? The game, to play, to dare to experiment has a great importance in this context to find new paths and perhaps also necessary frameworks. The table tennis table divided by the fence activates through its visual form many thoughts about this complex question of communication, action and interaction. This requires the commitment of the viewer and the curious player. Just do it!