Why David Beckham Won’t Be Hanging on the Gallery Wall

Why David Beckham Won’t Be Hanging on the Gallery Wall

L.S. Lowry (1887-1976) in 1953 produced as an entry in a painting competition run by the Football Association, a work called ‘Football Ground’. Later re-named ‘Going to the match’ this was sold in 1999 to the Professional Footballers’ Association for £1.9 million, and can presently be seen at the Lowry centre in Salford. It depicts crowds of people streaming towards the football ground (Bolton Wanderers’ now defunct stadium of Burnden Park), high spirits heading to grey high raked open stands. It is feels overcast and there is a strong breeze, a red banner snapping a salute over the ground , the football fans some bent stiff into the wind, hats rammed tight are not to be denied. In the background are the cramped red brick terraced homes of these football supporters, further in the distance are the smoke stacks and factory walls of the mills that grew the town. When Saturday comes, released from toil, the workers head for the match, come high wind or rain, the game and life is on.

Lowry had little interest in the individual, his eye was on the industrial landscape and how that moulded the community it served. Football is a (perhaps was?) working class game, played by and for predominately working class people, it is where the people of that community found their identity. In ‘Going to the match’ we can see this presented as an axiom, the type of people and their backgrounds self evident. Perhaps it is because of this, the working classes; en-mass at play that football is not represented in art. Historically ‘high’ art was at the behest or commission of the wealthy and therefore, its style and subject would be ufabet ค่าน้ำ for their taste and consumption, irrespective of the artist. It was not in the power, financial or providentially, nor in the gift of the poor to commission art, in the urban and industrial conurbations of the late 19th century and early 20th century, escapism and entertainment came from the music hall and football.

Perhaps too, the contradictory nature of the beautiful game; grace and aggression, athleticism and tactics, discipline and instinct, not least of course the unpredictable conclusion to a game, does not lend itself easily to a gallery wall. Then again, today’s idiom of record is celluloid, which either in film or photograph can rarely capture more than the snap of action, and is therefore bereft of an overview. One exception perhaps is the film, ‘Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait’ by Douglas Gordon and Phillipe Perreno. Where this great football player is followed exclusively by 17 camera’s for the period of one single football match. As a portrait it is counter-intuitive as the intricacies of external context are left out. However, it is a mesmerising and poignant record of man at work in his own fractured memory, instructive as an internal monologue but, does it carry the weight of dialogue? Whereas Lowry’s ‘Going to the Match’ is both figurative and expressive, of time, place and of the Zeitgeist.