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Marianna Simnett – National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Germany

17 May — 3 Nov 2024

Marianna Simnett

17.05.2024 to 03.11.2024
Hamburger Bahnhof – National Gallery of Contemporary Art

On the occasion of the 2024 European Football Championship taking place in Germany, the artist Marianna Simnett is producing the multi-channel film installation “WINNER”, conceived as a dance for film in three acts, told from the perspective of football.

“WINNER” takes up the dramaturgy of the game and dissects its socially constructed power hierarchies, mass psychology and the constant pressure to perform. Through the element of dance, the most passionate moments of football are re-enacted and radically transformed: highs and triumphs, brutality and wildness, suffering and defeat.

The film is set on a football pitch and is an adaptation of the 1954 short story The Destructors by Graham Greene. An extraordinary group of dancers mutate between hooligans and football players. The plot centers on the group’s destruction of a magical-realistic house of cards. The house belongs to a former referee whose decisions determine the victory or defeat of the game. A choir of baby ultra fans, sung by the American singer and performer Lydia Lunch, monitors the action and sounds down from the stands.

Simnett’s vivid, hallucinatory world extends beyond the canvas into the exhibition space, subverting the architecture of football and relocating it into the museum. Entering a long tunnel that footballers go through before the start of a game and which is also reminiscent of a birth canal, viewers are confronted with a choreography of images that moves through the space and is repeatedly interrupted by melancholic songs about winning.

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