The Red Ball Project is street art at its best. It stimulates the imagination of the ordinary person, whether or not they would usually stop to look at art or visit a gallery. So just what is the appeal of a giant rubber beach ball? Its colour? the most passionate, symbolizing love, danger, power, fire and a beneficial sunset. I love to catch the red eye, the overnight coach to an airport. Red is the colour of heat, the fingernails of a confident woman and a woman who wore red shoes wore no knickers! What does red mean to you?
The shape of a ball? A wholeness, as of the earth and the planets surrounding us. Any one of numerous games from the humble marble to the posher polo. Something to reach for, we dance at a ball, maybe on the ball of a foot. A sphere with no beginning or end, tactile and smooth to roll between palms. What image springs to your mind?
RedBall has been travelling the world, Sydney, Barcelona and Taipei and before heading to London it made a brief stop in Exeter. It was seen outside the Guildhall, on the quay and on Saturday I saw it at St Catherines Almshouse, a fifteenth century ruin in the heart of the city. The building, which was bombed in 1942, already has its own urban art, Marking Time, comprising pieces of medieval pottery and glass along with a coke tin that have been enclosed in glass panels is a permanent feature on the site.
When I saw the Big Red Ball I was entranced – but you’ve already guessed that! The artist, Kurt Perschke from Chicago created it to ‘invite you to look afresh at your own surroundings’, I hope you get to see it and look afresh at yours.
You can see the glass panels to the right of the building and behind is the thousand year old tower of St Stephens.