Thursday, March 13, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #1 (Leonardo Veliz: Chile)


graphite & putty eraser/30x21cm

With this year’s football World Cup now less than 100 days away from its kick-off, this seems as good a time as any to reactivate the 1974 tournament drawing project that has lain dormant, shamefully, for almost 12 months now, in what is hoped will be a new, improved format, designed to process work much more quickly & efficiently. To this end, the previous labour-intensive ‘pixellated’ method has been abandoned in favour of a broader, more active additive & subtractive mark-making process that harks back to earlier drawings, not least the shortish series of circa-1970 footballer portraits of around two years ago (please refer to the March, April, May & June archives of 2012).
The source material for the drawings remains the pair of FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974 & Panini ‘World Cup ‘74 stamp/sticker albums issued to commemorate the then-upcoming tournament to be held in the then West Germany, with enlarged monochrome photocopies, somewhat degraded in image quality, of the original colour image-objects serving as the immediate point of reference for the drawing process, with the albums or colour copies of their pages close at hand for additional consultation.

Whereas the previous incarnation of the project began with the intention of following a strict alphabetical presentation of the nations & their chosen players as represented by/in the albums, this version will follow a random pattern, rather as the stickers might themselves have been collected, in packs, with the individual player to be drawn chosen in the time-honoured draw-making fashion of a copy of the sticker upon which he appears, as might a number, being picked unseen from a collection of the complete set of images, which will of course diminish accordingly.
This being the case, the first name out of the biscuit tin happened to be one Leonardo Veliz of Chile, who, having been chosen to be represented in both the FKS & Panini albums, did make his country’s official squad for the tournament & went on to appear in all three of Chile’s First Round group stage matches (after which they were eliminated); as a 76th minute substitute in the opening 0 – 1 defeat to the host nation, for the whole of the subsequent 1 – 1 draw with East Germany & then from the start of the final fixture, a goalless stalemate against Australia, during which he was withdrawn in the 72nd minute.

None of these particular details registered at the time – the televised coverage of the 1974 World Cup finals was essentially my introduction to football, so whatever memories remain from the time are generally of a broader nature, limited to a relative few of the matches & featured players - but such events & participants remain or become palpably present in the consciousness via the medium of such archive objects as the stickers & albums, portals to the past as it were, inspiring nostalgia that can in turn generate new work, a re-mediation of an existing source. Given that my televised experience at the time was of a black & white nature (as it remained beyond the 1978 World Cup, in fact), it seems most appropriate that the portraits be rendered similarly monochrome, although it feels as though some colour should be applied to the subjects’ shirts, the colours as worn being one of the significant attractions to the game, of course.
Coincidentally, just as the final preparations for undertaking this project were in hand, the Guardian online recently published a selectively illustrated article on the subject of Sean Ryan‘s series of Badly Drawn Footballers, a project involving the representation of a complete album of sticker portraits: good stuff.

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