Martin Maximilian Michel
In the Arena of Art. Throughout much of the world, soccer has long been more than just a sport. It is a cultural phenomenon, an arena in which local rivalries and national dramas have been played out long before satellite broadcasting made it possible for games to be beamed around the world and experienced simultaneously by hundreds of millions of viewers. The exhibition looks at art, soccer and mass spectacle from the place where the amateur and the professional intermingle. Curated by Trevor Smith and Jurgen Weishaupl.
Curators: Trevor Smith and Jürgen Weishäupl
Commissioner and Producer: Andreas Stadler
Exhibition Coordinator: Elisabeth Haider
Exhibition Assistance: Natascha Boojar, Catharina Coreth, Stephanie Pereira, Maria Simma, Susanne Zöhrer
Martin Maximilian Michel & Markus Iser
Throughout much of the world, soccer has long been more than just a sport. It is a cultural phenomenon, an arena in which local rivalries and national dramas have been played out long before satellite broadcasting made it possible for games to be beamed around the world and experienced simultaneously by hundreds of millions of viewers. Even as professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey attract bigger audiences in the United States, there is nothing that compares with soccer as the global game.
In June 2008, Austria and Switzerland play host to the European championship soccer tournament UEFA Euro 2008™, a sporting spectacle that to Europe and in many other parts of the world is more important than America’s Superbowl. On this occasion, the Austrian Culture Forum has commissioned an exhibition Bread and Soccer: in the arena of art that explores not only the magical flowing rhythm of the game itself but the unique energy and identity that soccer fans have brought to the sport. Eleven artists (like the eleven players on a soccer team) present works that suggest ways in which the cult of spectatorship meets the culture
The nationalistic and cultural aspects of the sport are explored in Gustavo Artigas’ Rules of the Game. He documents a sporting event that he sponsored which consisted of two Mexican soccer teams and two American basketball teams, playing against one another, simultaneously, on the same court. Klaus Pobitzer (born 1971, lives and works in Vienna) presents a graphic installation in homage to women’s soccer teams.
Bread and Soccer is an exhibition that looks at art, soccer and mass spectacle from the place where the amateur and the professional intermingle. Monika Wührer (lives and works in New York) will conduct a series of foosball tournaments as a contact point between professional soccer players, exhibition visitors, and fans. Over the last fifteen years, Roderick Buchanan (born 1965, lives and works in Glasgow) has produced an extraordinary range of works exploring the culture of spectatorship and participation, particularly in relation to the game of soccer. He will premiere a new video commissioned for this exhibition entitled Wrong Time, Wrong Place. Martin Maximilian Michl and Markus Iser born 1977 and 1975, live and work in Salzburg) have produced a stunning viral video wherein people in the streets re-enact Zinedine Zidane’s famous headbutt in the final of the last soccer world cup.
Fascination and mastery, participation and belonging blend in heady and hallucinatory ways that blur distinctions between the individual and the mass. Thomas Feuerstein (born 1968, lives and works in Vienna) is a philosopher and visual artist who is producing a computer generated installation in which large crowd scenes are animated and abstracted through new computer techniques. Pia Lindman (born 1965, lives and works in New York) layers multiple exposures of sports stadiums to produce haunting meditations contrasting the monumental structure of the stadiums to the fluctuating density and movement of the audience. Spencer Tunick (born 1967, lives and works in New York) is producing a new video based on a recent project in Ernst Happel soccer stadium in Vienna. Nives Widauer (born 1965, lives and works in Vienna) provides an alternative soundtrack to the singing of the national anthems that precede each game. Julius Deutschbauer/TONSPURvienna presents an Insult Arena, a site-specific sound installation which recreates the insults hurled by fans at the opposing team.
A final highlight is Serge Spitzer’s (born 1951, lives and works in New York) remarkable sculpture, Global Culture (Red) 2004-05, a robotic table that magically keeps a soccer ball balanced on its surface, even as the table tilts and swivels in all directions, drawing attention back to the simple physical and artistic wonder that is at the core of the beautiful game.
The exhibition is generously supported by Austrian Airlines, Duggal, Ottakringer, Red Bull New York, RZB Finance, Settepani, Zumtobel Staff
Supporting Institutions Federal Ministery of Education, Arts and Culture; 2008 - Österreich am Ball
Image: Martin Maximilian Michl & Markus Iser: Zine (2006)
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