Odes to Defeat

The small space in which sport and art come together has forever been changed by Algerian artist Adel Abdesseme. His five-metre-tall statue of Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt of Italy’s Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup Final now stands outside the Pompidou museum.

Instead of celebrating Zidane’s professionalism and incredible successes – perhaps one of his two goals in the 1998 Final that helped lead France to their only World Cup – Abdesseme instead has  immortalised Zidane’s brainfart that saw him sent off before the French lost in a penalty shootout.

Such a work “goes against the tradtion of making statues in honour of certain victories,” exhibition organizer Alain Michaud said. “It is an ode to defeat.”

The good news is that this is the first of many such sculptures to be exhibited around the world – odes to brainfarts and defeats alike.

What follows is a summary of recently commissioned works to be unveiled in the next 12 months.

Eric Cantona will be seen leaping over the fence and kicking a fan in the chest. He will be in Cantona’s hometown of Marseille, leaping over the fence outside the Marseille Opera House.

Out the front of the MCG, the late, great Jim Stynes will be seen in full stride, running between Gary Buckenara and the man standing the mark in the 1987 AFL Preliminary Final.

Evander Holyfield will be reacting in pain after just having had part of his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson. The spat out piece of ear would be lying nearby for tourists to pose with on the Las Vegas Strip.

In Prague’s Wenceslas Square, Jana Novotna will be breaking down in tears and being comforted by the Duchess of Kent after her choke in the 1993 Wimbledon Final.

Four athletes will share a laugh as they lie on beds, two shooting up with their own injections, the others both receiving a blood transfusion. Recognised to be Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds. They will be cut into a mountain Mount Rushmore-style somewhere near Montreal, the home of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The back of a massively-shouldered Chinese woman in a swimsuit will be seen in Tiananmen Square.

Scottie Pippen will sit on the bench refusing to be involved for the final play of the game because coach Phil Jackson drew up a play that would see Toni Kukoc take the final shot. Pippen will sit somewhere behind the statue of Michael Jordan in Chicago.

A string of statues will greet you as you approach that of Bradman at the International Cricket Hall of Fame in Bowral. First are Mark Waugh and Shane Warne on their phones, then comes Hansie Cronje being introduced to a bookmaker by Mohammed Azharuddin, and finally Mohammed Asif will be bowling a no-ball.

In Piazza Verona in Rome, Roberto Baggio will be looking down at his feet having just missed the penalty in the shootout that handed Brazil the 1994 World Cup.

Tiger Woods will be behind the wheel of a car on the road entering the Augusta National Golf Club. The car is about to hit a fire hydrant as Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordegren runs behind, brandishing a golf club..

Manti Te’o will have his arm around a non-existant girlfriend in the guise of the latest Internet meme just behind the end zone at Notre Dame Stadium.

Serena Williams will be mid-expletive, pointing her racquet threateningly at a seated lineswoman. The lineswoman will sit quietly at the base of the red stairs in Times Square, Serena glaring down upon her.

In Melbourne’s Federation Square, Greg Norman will be seen falling as if shot in the heart during his meltdown in the 1996 Masters.

And on the grounds of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland will be one statue commemorating the best of both the Summer and Winter Games. On one lawn will be two Chinese and two South Korean badminton players desperately trying to lose their match. On the other will be a masked man taking a club to the knee of Nancy Kerrigan.

In related news, another newly commissioned statue has nothing to do with sport at all. Next to the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C., on one’s walk between the Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial, will be Bill Clinton. He will not be having sex with that woman.

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