DEMOCRACIA, Do not be consoled, 2009. Installation, video, 17' Courtesy: ADN Galeria (ES) Collection Province de Hainaut (BE)
© Leslie Artamonow.

The B.P.S.22, a space for contemporary creation in the Province of Hainaut (Charleroi, Belgium), dedicates an important exhibition to contemporary art and football. Far from limiting itself to the current sports events, such as the World Cup, the project looks at the various facets of this popular sport, in connection with the challenges of our contemporary world. It also sheds light on the relationship between today’s artists and the world of football. The exhibition includes an important educational aspect, and has been an opportunity to specifically commission certain artists such as Patrick Everaert, Pascale Marthine Tayou and Yoann Van Parys.

The world is round like a ball …

Football is the most popular sport in the world and brings together a countless number of fervent supporters as well as occasional spectators. This popularity, enhanced by important media coverage, increased even further in Europe after the victory of France’s «black-blanc-beur» (white, black, Arab) during the 98 World Cup. This same victory also succeeded in reconciling the various strata of the population around the round ball: while the previous decades were marked by a certain intellectual «anti-football» culture in the French-speaking countries in particular, today the sport enjoys the attention of all social classes. This is easily confirmed by the numerous artistic productions or the literary works put out for more than ten years. It has often been said «The world is round like a balloon», and artists see football as the reflection of the situations and changes of today’s world.

Some forty artists from all over the world

Freddy CONTRERAS, Stud XI (detail), 1996 Mixed Technique (installation of 11 pairs of shoes with spikes), 250 x 500 x 45 cm © Leslie Artamonow

One Shot! demonstrates the popularity of the round ball but by no means is this exhibition dedicated to the glory of the sport. The project aims instead at finding what today’s world has in tune with football. Indeed there are many artists, men and women alike, who at some point in their career have used the football as the main subject of their work or, simply have used it as a visual source. Some forty pieces by artists from all over the world are thus brought together in the two exhibition areas of the B.P.S.22. Among them we have Wim Delvoye (Belgium), Massimo Furlan (Switzerland), Kendell Geers (South Africa), Douglas Gordon (United-Kingdom) as well as Philippe Parreno (France), Taku Anekawa (Japan), and Javier Rodriguez (Mexico). The main hall hosts sculptures, paintings, photographs, drawings, etc. while projections on big screens take place in the room close by.

Violence, rituals and childhood memories

The point of departure of the exhibition are two emblematic works that illustrate this gradual invasion of the media landscape by football—a video portrait of Zidane by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno (2005) and a video portrait of George Best by Hellmuth Costard (1970). More than thirty years have slipped by between these two films, marked by fundamental changes in the world which the exhibition wishes to echo. A great number of facets linked to this sport have thus been explored and are presented at the B.P.S.22. Among them, we have the ritual dimension of the supporters (video shot by Stephen Dean during the derbies in Rio de Janeiro), the links between politics and football (installation by Kendell Geers that groups together, in the net, the faces of politicians stretched over footballs), the violence of certain «ultras», the emotional part linked to childhood and to memories, the financial corruption, popular traditions, the financial stakes of major brands and the production conditions of merchandising, the genre clichés (Priscilla Monge’s ball, made of sanitary napkins)…


The B.P.S.22 publishes a catalogue with the works of the exhibition, a brief explanatory notice and a general presentation of the directing concept. It is designed like a tribute to the «Panini» albums. The catalogue includes a few stickers and presents itself as a perishable souvenir of the event. 64 pages quadri. Texts: Nancy Casielles and Pierre-Olivier Rollin. In French and in English.

To see more illustrations, click on VERSION FRANCAISE at the top of this page

B.P.S. 22 Espace de création contemporaine Site de l’Université du Travail
Boulevard Solvay 22 B-6000 CHARLEROI - BELGIUM
INFORMATION: Tel: +32 71 27 29 71 Fax: +32 71 27 29 70
Site: bps22.hainaut.be
OPENING HOURS: Open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 6: 00 PM.
ADMISSION PRICE: Full rate: 3 €; Discounts: 2 € - 1 €
CURATORSHIP: Pierre-Olivier Rollin, Director of B.P.S.22