The return of Hors Pistes to the Pompidou

'The swimmer' (2006) by Maite Cajaravilla in the latest Hors Pistes exhibition
'The swimmer' (2006) by Maite Cajaravilla in the latest Hors Pistes exhibition / FERNANDO GONZÁLEZ
  • The Malaga branch has just inaugurated the latest of the annual exhibitions it co-produces with the Paris museum

  • The social, political and aesthetic relationships between art and sport are the focus of the audiovisual works in this year's display

On 27 September 2009 the Girondins de Bordeaux and Stade Rennes football teams faced each other and the most radical fans of the former (the Ultramines) displayed placards, stickers and scarves bearing messages such as 'Do not let yourselves be comforted', 'Truth is always revolutionary', 'Idols don't exist' and 'They command because we obey'.

These thoughts of Bertold Brecht, Antonio Gramsci and other intellectuals were on show in the stadium as part of an artistic action which was organised by the Democracy collective; the aim was to use them to reflect upon 'football as a new religion' with the stands in the stadium as a metaphor for society.

The video called 'Ne vous laissez pas consoler' (Do not let yourselves be comforted) attracts the gaze like a beacon as you tour the third edition of Hors Pistes, the multidisciplinary event which is hosted every year by the Centre Pompidou in Malaga and is, for the moment, the only one to be co-produced by the Paris museum and this, its only subsidiary outside France.

Curated by the director of the municipal agency which manages the Pompidou, José María Luna, and by Geraldine Gómez, this year's Hors Pistes treads new ground with an exhibition which tackles the social, political and aesthetic relationships between art and sport.

Under the title 'El estadio del arte' (the stadium of art), this fascinating exhibition includes an attractive montage, with benches facing the video screens and white lines on the ground simulating the perimeter of a sports field. It brings together a combination of very different formal and aesthetic works, with sport as a common denominator.

“These are stories which are very relevant today,” said José María Luna, who also highlighted the “transversal and multidisciplinary approach” of Hors Pistes. For the general director of the Centre Pompidou, Julie Narbey, this event “is a way of involving the local artistic scene and linking the teams” of Malaga and Paris.

This third edition of Hors Pistes also differs from the previous ones because Spanish artists have a greater presence, from the two pieces by the Democracia group which focus on football to 'The swimmer' (2006) by Maite Cajaravilla, the artist from Seville, which consists of three screens in a U-shape where an athlete immerses himself in an infinite journey below the water of a swimming pool.

Metaphors for competition

Another of the most notable works in the montage is 'Rendition' (2006) by Eugenio Ampudia. It shows sequences of a pole jump, but where the athletes need to clear a reproduction of the painting 'The rendition of Breda', by Velázquez, instead of the bar.

“Athletes try to jump over an obstacle, which in this case is the picture, out of their comfort zone and shown in another context,” said Ampudia at the opening of the exhibition, describing a piece which approaches matters such as the difficulties of the creative process and the weight of tradition on the task of contemporary creators.

One of the few concessions to photography in this exhibition is the project 'Once ideal Senegal' (2014) by Javier Hirschfeld from Malaga. The series portrays a group of young Africans wearing football shirts. The photos have been taken face-on and from behind. The badge is on the front and the name and number of the idol on the back. The images were taken in Dakar and Gorée over a two-month period, with no preparation or manipulation. Youths dressed like sporting celebrities. Images which act as an own goal on the conscience.