Fives As Art In Germany

John Reynolds reports:

26/09/19: Artists in Germany have created a life-size and functional but temporary Eton Fives court for an exhibition.

The gallery is in a former waiting room inside an active railway station in Hamburg and the court has been created largely out of wood and chipboard with dimensions and advice from London-based court-maker John Reynolds.

The artist, Fion Pellacini, learned about the game from his friend Curt Schmitt, who played the game at the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz and at Cambridge (where he earned a half-blue).

Fion and the exhibition curator Rebekka Seubert visited London in August to research the game. They witnessed an Old Citizen knockabout at Highgate, had a little game themselves and then visited the original site of the game in Eton with current Kinnaird champion Seb Cooley.

The court was built in the first two weeks of September. It is due to be there until November 10, when it will be torn down to make way for the next exhibition.

The exhibit is part of the gallery's 20th anniversary celebrations. There will be other displays and performances in and around the court for the next two months.

There will be a Fives workshop in the last week of October, culminating in a tournament, to coincide with the gallery's birthday ceremony on November 2nd.

The court will be usable by appointment for anyone from the Fives community during the whole time of the exhibition.

Says Fion: "Eton Fives is getting around Hamburg already and there are already some people who want to be part of the workshop! I see it as a way to reach out in in times of Brexit debates!"

Another extraordinary touch is that one of the show's performers is an American poet who was Rugby Fives captain when he was at school at Groton, in Massachusetts.

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