Douglas Gordon & Philippe Parreno, Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait, 2006. Palomar Pictures & Anna Lena Films

EINDHOVEN.- Van Abbemuseum presents today Plug In #48 - Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait. The artists Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno highlight the popular subject of football in an entirely new way. World-famous football player Zinédine Zidane was followed by 17 synchronized cameras during a match. This video installation gives the spectator the sensation of 'moving alongside' Zidane throughout the entire game.

For the artists it was in many ways Zidane’s personality that made the portrait necessary. The elegance of his game and his charisma made the decision for the two artists slash football fans an obvious one.

The video made by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno is a unique collaboration of two artists in creating this portrait. Throughout the history of art, artist have painted portraits because it was the most direct way of depicting humanity. A portrait brings to life moments in time. Inspired by the film portraits made by Andy Warhol in the 1960’s, the artists chose film as their medium. “Photography and film correspond to the attempts in our time to depict the face of humanity on the scale of time. Our lives take place within a protocol of time. It was for this reason in particular that we chose to create a portrait using cameras instead of canvas or paper. While drawing and painting create two-dimensional works, a portrait on film inexorably becomes a multidimensional work. […] You see things in this film you never see on TV, like his hands, his gestures. That comes from painting techniques: watching out for gestures, moving fingers. These things offer us information about a person.” For Zidane, the portrait was a unique opportunity to have a game commemorated for all time. He is very satisfied with the result “I recognise myself, it’s really me, and that’s exactly what I live every Sunday. With more emotion in some parts and less in others. That’s it. All I hope now is that the film captivates the public the way it captivated me.”

The film was shot during a regular championship game between Spanish football club Real Madrid (for whom Zidane played at the time) and Villarreal F.C. in Madrid on 23 April 2005 at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. The length of the soccer match, 90 minutes, equals the length of the film. The music for the film was composed by Mogwai, the international rock band from Glasgow.


Douglas Gordon & Philippe Parreno, Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait, 2006. Palomar Pictures & Anna Lena Films