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Ping Pong Diplomacy


Ping Pong Diplomacy - IMMA Outdoors, Dublin 2021

One of the first public hints of improved U.S. - China relations came on April 6th 1971, when the American Ping-Pong team received a surprise invitation from their Chinese colleagues for an all-expense paid visit to the People's Republic. Probably never before in history has a sport been used so effectively as a tool of international diplomacy, with its premium on delicate skill and its onomatopoeic name implies interplay of both initiative and response. Ping Pong was an apt metaphor for the relations between Washington and Peking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Time Magazine - 1972


A visit to any Communist or former Communist bloc country will be met with the observation of table tennis tables placed outdoors in public arenas for recreational use by the local community. These tables are the remnants of a failed ideology that at one time offered a new hope and later symbolised 'evil' in a power struggle for political supremacy as perceived through Western Culture.

Ping-Pong Diplomacy consists of a table tennis table constructed by the artist using a combination of re-cycled wood (pallets) and commercial flooring boards. The table has been built to official dimensions, but it will take more than skill to fully utilise its possibilities. While one half of the table has the appearance of a superior finish compared to the more chaotic aspect of the re-cycled half they both have their qualities and their foibles that need to be negotiated and understood to utilise the table and the individuals skills to affect a positive outcome. While the physical appearance of the work has an obvious use / value it at the same time incorporate a symbolism relating to historical representation in both social and artistic associations. This work is a representation of world gone by - the decline of failed ideologies and territorial revisions leading to the construction of new states in a world in constant flux due to technology,

geo-politics and economics. 


Ping Pong Diplomacy - LAB Gallery, Dublin 2018

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Ping Pong Diplomacy - The British Council, London 2016

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Ping Pong Diplomacy - The Crawford, Cork 2014

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Ping Pong Diplomacy - Art Nomads - LKV,  Norway 2012

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Ping Pong Diplomacy - Kunstverein Hanover, Germany 2009 

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