Zinedine Zidane is one of the greatest soccer players ever. Now his work is art. Yesterday I went to the Museum of Art on Campus at Brigham Young University and found perhaps the greatest portrait ever created by an artist: Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. In fact, I'd have to say that Douglas Gordon, the artist, is a genius.
Gordon, in collaboration with Phillipe Parreno, used 17 cameras to film only Zidane during a match against Real Zaragoza. It is a haunting 90 minute movie that completely mesmerizes the viewer. There is a that comes out every so often. This portrait presents a darker Zidane who roams the field as a lonely hunter. He doesn't lash out but his creativity and focus have an intensity and brooding that both inspire and cause fear for the viewer. I can only imagine what it would be like to play against him. We see some interaction with other players in the film but the focus is entirely Zidane.
It is odd to contrast this film with what we normally see during a match because normally we follow the ball and see the entire field at a distance. The focus on one player, who probably touches the ball for only a few minutes, makes the game seem very personal and private. He is surrounded by 20 other players and thousands of fans but marks a solitary figure on the pitch. As you watch, you start to wonder if the artist is the one who created the portrait or the one on the pitch. Soccer as art. Excellence at the Brigham Young University's Museum of Art in Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.
A five minute preview:
Go see the 90 minutes if you get a chance.