ZIDANE, A 21st-Century Portrait

Exhibition organized by National Gallery of Canada, at the Galerie de l’UQAM

Artists: Douglas Gordon, Philippe Parreno

February 28, 2012 - April 14, 2012

Opening: March 1, 2012, 5:30 pm

The Galerie de l’UQAM will inaugurate ZIDANE, A 21st-Century Portrait, by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno, orgazined by National Gallery of Canada. Combining soccer and contemporary art, this exhibition will be an opportunity to observe one of the century most famous players through an almost idolizing portrait.

The Work

Zinédine Zidane was a member of the French national soccer team that won both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the Euro 2000 Championship. In Zidane, A 21st-Century Portrait, internationally renowned artists Douglas Gordon (b. Glasgow, Scotland, 1966) and Philippe Parreno (b. Oran, Algeria, 1964) deploy contemporary conventions of mass media both to “paint” a portrait of the soccer star and to expose our cultural creation of, and fascination with, heroes and icons.

Filmed in real time during a championship match between Real Madrid and Villarreal on 23 April 2005, the artists worked with a team of film technicians and seventeen cameras positioned throughout Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, instructing each operator to remain fixed on Zidane through the entire match. The resulting installation is a highly edited film of 90 minutes containing footage from each of the cameras. The soundtrack comprises the roar of 80,000 cheering fans in the stadium, Spanish television commentary, and original music by the Scottish band Mogwaï, intercut with sounds from the field and stark moments of silence. In a darkened gallery space, the athlete’s every move is projected larger than life, transforming him into a fascinating object under the scrutiny of our gaze. Gordon and Parreno’s intense survey of the sports hero gives viewers a sense of insight into his inner character, as it examines the cult of celebrity and questions the image as commodity. Zidane is a highly experimental portrait that fuses familiar media and genres, resulting in a radically different experience of spectatorship.

The Artists

Douglas Gordon works in sound, photography, and text, but is renowned for his video installations that alter the conventional relationship between audience and image to create mesmerizing viewing experiences. Winner of the Turner Prize in 1996 and the Hugo Boss Prize in 1998, he lives and works in New York City, USA, and Glasgow, Scotland.

Phillipe Parreno’s work explores concepts of narrative, the image as commodity and new exhibition practices. In addition to working with Douglas Gordon, he has created collaborative projects with Pierre Huyghe, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Carsten Höller, and Maurizio Cattelan, among others. He is a co-founder of Anna Sanders Films, a Paris-based film production company that creates cinema oscillating between document and fiction. He lives and works in Paris, France.