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Play Ping Pong Against a Robot Inside an LA Gallery

Sponsorship, live broadcasting, and literal gaming comes to LA Gallery Steve Turner for Jonas Lund’s 'Your Logo Here.'
Your Logo Here installation view, Jonas Lund, 2016. All photos courtesy of the artist and Steve Turner

Although art frequently overlaps with many other cultural spheres, the "sports and art" combination often seems stuck on the ‘jock’ vs. ‘artist’ split that proliferates in high school. One of the results of artist Jonas Lund's ongoing exhibition at Steve Turner is a reconciliation of this divide: Your Logo Here combines the sponsorship, merchandising, live broadcasting, and literal physical activity of sports, with artistic practice and the culture of the art world.


Your Logo Here installation view, Jonas Lund, 2016

Presenting itself as a miniature sports arena of sorts, Lund has positioned a ping pong table in the center of the Los Angeles gallery, blocked off by banner dividers with sporadic bench seating behind them. Along the walls are vibrant plexiglass plaques and a row of color coordinated sports jerseys, raised high like relics of a championship run.

YLH Jersey 5 (Blue Team), Jonas Lund, 2016

The dividers, plaques, and jerseys are most notable for their lack of team specificity and overbearing abundance of sponsorship logos. For this exhibition, Lund advertises an array of art organizations, from publications like RhizomeDIS, and ART PAPERS, to art market powerhouses like Phillips and the Armory Show, in exchange for a series of varied ‘exchanges’ with each group that are not revealed in the exhibition.

Your Logo Here 1, Jonas Lund, 2016

Lund has been kind enough to unveil some of the secrecy behind the exchanges: “The negotiations were of different sorts, some very straight forward and some a bit more intricate. The exchanges ranged from quite simple ones, such as that the supporter agrees to post one or more images to their Instagram account, others included bigger trades,” Lund tells The Creators Project. “LXAQ traded their logo in place for a half page ad in their latest issues. My favorite trade was with the Shiryaevo Biennale of Contemporary Art, where we traded their logo in the show for me being a part of the biennale.”

Your Logo Here installation view, Jonas Lund, 2016

The surrounding elements of art sponsorship lead us to the literal centerpiece of the exhibition, the ping pong table. Lund adds an element of interactive art by inviting the viewer to play a round of ping pong against an unorthodox challenger: a faceless, mechanized robot, live streamed on Steve Turner’s Facebook page from an aerial angle, akin to traditional sports broadcasting.


Your Logo Here installation view, Jonas Lund, 2016

Despite the tendency in sports to challenge and beat rivals, the artist suggests that the robot is not intended to be your adversary: “The only opponent to beat within the installation is yourself, as the robot is not your opponent but a practice partner, a tool to dramatically improve your performance. So the parallels to the ‘art world’ can be seen through the lens of practice,” Lund reveals. However, integral to the concept of ‘deliberate practice’ is a quick feedback system—so you can know when you’re doing well or poorly—but how can you experience this within an artistic practice? What different types of quick feedback can an artist receive?”

Your Logo Here 4, Jonas Lund, 2016

Ultimately, Lund’s engagement with sports in Your Logo Here likely relates to the overlap he sees between sporting culture and art: “I think there’s some similarities in terms of performance, team work, ‘the persona’ as a brand, the desire to reach higher levels, to improve to get better, to ‘win,’ only it’s harder to say how you win within art,” adds Lund. “Sports are of a very rule defined nature, each action has a direct related consequence as defined in the rule book. Art has no pre-defined rules, nor any particular way of measuring quality or ‘wins,’ which is also what makes art art, right?”

Your Logo Here installation view, Jonas Lund, 2016

View Jonas Lund’s Your Logo Here at Steve Turner until October 8th, and be sure to stop by on October 1st between 6-9PM to participate in (or watch) a human vs. human ping pong tournament that will take place in the gallery. More of the artist’s work can be found here.


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