IOC announces Ball Game a large-scale commissioned work by Argentinian conceptual artist Leandro Erlich

On view in Buenos Aires October 5-18, the participatory art installation celebrates the notion of coming together in the spirit of Olympism.


To mark the first-ever Olympism in Action Forum and upcoming Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, the International Olympic Committee has commissioned internationally celebrated conceptual artist Leandro Erlich to create a large-scale, temporary installation to bring to life the Olympic values.  

Known for playing with human perception, Erlich will present Ball Game, an ensemble of five large-scale hyper-realistic sport balls (football, basketball, tennis, volleyball and golf), that will encourage the audience to experience the delight of moving beyond the everyday and into the festive terrain of Erlich’s humour and imagination. The work will first be displayed at the Olympism in Action Forum, outside of the Exhibition and Convention Centre in the Recoleta neighbourhood, where members of the Olympic Movement and civil society will discuss key topics related to sport and society. On Sunday morning, October 7, spectators will be invited to move Erlich’s ensemble together through the city’s public space to the Parque Tres de Febrero at the city’s Planetarium Galileo Galilei in the neighbourhood of Palermo in a performative action. Only through a true collective effort can spectators get the monumental balls rolling.

Leandro Ehrlich Courtesy of Studio Leandro Erlich

"We were intrigued by Mr. Erlich’s concept of a work that offers a platform for interaction. His installation reflects the Olympic ideal of humanity in movement in celebration of sporting achievement, and also as the Olympic Movement unites to address important issues relevant to the future of sport and society during the Olympism in Action Forum," said Francis Gabet, Director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage.

"The sport balls are a simple visual expression of the unifying spirit of friendship, excellence, and respect…. faced with the challenge of moving these monumental objects, collaboration and fraternity become our natural response. This game invites us to move forward together, inspired by the Olympic values," said Leandro Erlich.

"In Buenos Aires, sports and art are passionately lived and are an essential part of our identity.  This is the opportunity for all of us to be inspired by Olympic values and to share this celebration with the world", said Enrique Avogadro, Culture Minister of the City of Buenos Aires. 

While the commission is fully funded by the IOC, the city worked in close collaboration with the artist’s team on the permitting for public space needed to accommodate the project.  

The IOC’s commission is part of a new and long-term programme of artist commissions under the umbrella of the Olympic Art Project, and initiative led by the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage to engage leading contemporary artists on a recurring basis to reinterpret the linkages between sport and culture that are fundamental to the Olympic Movement, and to help foster a fresh and dynamic dialogue around the Olympic values.  This programme was set up in the framework of Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, notably its recommendation 26, which aims to further strengthen the blending of sport and culture at the Olympic Games and in-between. 

Ball Game by Leandro Erlich
October 5-18, 2018 

Venues : 
Buenos Aires Exhibition and Convention Centre, October 5-6, 2018 
Av. Pres. Figueroa Alcorta 2005, Recoleta, CABA
Planetarium Galileo Galilei, October 7-18 (from ca. 12 noon onwards on Oct. 7)
Av. Sarmiento, Parque Tres de Febrero, CABA 
A performative action to occur on Av. Pres. Figueroa Alcorta (between Convention Centre and Planetarium)
October 7, ca. 8-10 AM

Join the conversation:

About the Artist:
Leandro Erlich, born 1973, lives and works in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. 

Between 1998 and 1999 he took part in the Core Program, an artist-in-residence program in Houston, Texas, U.S. Then he moved to New York and made his first exhibition in a commercial New York gallery. In the year 2000, he participated in the Whitney Biennale and represented Argentina in the 49th Venice Biennale (2001).   

Leandro’s solo exhibitions include: El Museo del Barrio, New York (2001), Santa Monica Art Center, Barcelona (2003), MACRO Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (2006), Centre D’art Saint Nazaire, France (2005), Albion Gallery, London (2005), P.S.1 MoMA, NY (2008), Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy (2008), Galería Luciana Brito, Sao Paulo (2009), MOLAA, Long Beach (2010), Sean Kelly gallery, NY (2011), Galería Ruth Benzacar, Buenos Aires (2007, 2012), Galería Nogueras-Blanchard (2013), Barbican Center, London (2013), 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2014), MMCA, Seoul, Korea (2014), MALBA, Buenos Aires (2015), ZKM, Germany (2015); Museo Espacio Chandon arteBA 2016 (2016), MUNTREF, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2016); Neuberger Museum of Art, New York, USA (2017); Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, España (2017); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2017).

The artists’ work can be found in public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Tate Modern, London; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; 21st Century Museum of Art Kanazawa, Japan; MACRO, Rome; The Jerusalem Museum; FNAC, France; Ville de Paris et SNCF, Gare du Nord, France; etc.

About the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage:
The Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage is the IOC’s driving force behind the international promotion and dissemination of Olympism in the fields of culture, heritage and education.  
The Foundation’s Heritage Management acquires, documents, preserves and shares Olympic heritage with a wider audience; The Olympic Museum is the leading storyteller which showcases the Olympic ideal and legacy of cultural artefacts; the Olympic Studies Centre is the world source of reference for Olympic knowledge; and the International Programmes develop and implement special initiatives and programmes on Olympic art, culture and education in collaboration with international partners in the Olympic family and beyond.

About the Olympism in Action Forum:
The Olympism in Action Forum is a new initiative by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) focused on building a better world through sport. It will address the most important topics related to sport and society through a constructive dialogue with a diverse group of speakers and guests. The Forum will not only involve Olympic Movement stakeholders, such as private and public-sector leaders, athletes and media, but it will also welcome broader spheres of society with the power to effect change, including NGOs, academics, businesses, artists and more.
Forum sessions and activities will include debates, collaborative workshops, sport demos, inspirational talks, cultural celebrations, networking opportunities and much more. The Forum will take place on 5 and 6 October 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, alongside the 2018 Youth Olympic Game. For more information:

About the Youth Olympic Games:
The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) are an elite sporting event for young people from all over the world, held every four years. The YOG aim to bring together the best young athletes aged from 15 to 18. The YOG are an event distinct from other youth sporting events, as they also integrate a unique Athlete Education Programme and Local Youth activities. The sports programme is based on that of the Olympic Games, with 32 sports featured on the summer programme including exciting new disciplines and formats, such as Kiteboarding, BMX Freestyle, Breaking, 3-on-3 basketball, and mixed gender or mixed National Olympic Committee (NOC) events. Close to the field of play and through a variety of fun and interactive activities, workshops and team-building exercises, the participating athletes and local youth will have the opportunity to learn about the Olympic values, explore other cultures and develop their skills. The 2018 Youth Olympic Games (Juegos Olímpicos de la Juventud de 2018), officially known as the 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games hosted in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will welcome a perfectly gender balanced world delegation of 4.000 Athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees between October 6 and 18, 2018. 

Arts media enquiries:
South America
Ella Roeg | Sutton 
T: +44 (0) 20 7183 3577
Europe and USA
Daria Darmaniyan | Sutton
T: +44 (0) 20 7183 3577

Other enquiries: 
Anja Wodsak
Arts & Culture Manager
Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage
Lausanne, Switzerland
T: +41 79 739 6805 
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