To the outsider, football is a strange sport. While Hank Willis Thomas explored the tribal relationship between football and politics and religion, in quite a benign way, Marcin Dudek’s work is more sinister, as he explores similar relationships, but linked to his own very personal experiences as a teenage member of the Cracovia Football Fan Club, iincorporating photographic images of fans’ activities at a match between Poland and Romania in 1995 into jagged, angular, broken paintings.
The first room from the street is painted white, but then, through a black-painted turnstile which is common at football grounds, the colour becomes the bright orange of security jackets as the heat and the tension ranks up. Artworks combine items from the combat between fans and the forces of security alongside photographs and videos of what happens outside the football ground, asking the question “why?” Why do young vulnerable fans have to endure the violence of football games, just to enjoy sport? What does this say about modern society? Why do we accept the prejudice and violence that happens at football matches, when we wouldn’t accept it anywhere else. What is it about football that encourages this tribal culture?
Downstairs are more paintings and sculptures, linked to the theme about modern culture and society. Powerful work from his very personal experiences, but leaving us uncertain about the future. Will football, every change, or is the culture totally embedded in the sport?