20 October 2005 to 8 January 2006

Poster of the exhibition “Rundlederwelten”

Poster of the exhibition “Rundlederwelten”

Rundlederwelten is the most comprehensive exhibition on the subject of art and football to date and the culmination of the Artistic and Cultural Programme of the Federal Government for the 2006 FIFA World Cup 2006™ in cooperation with the 2006 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee. Rundlederwelten is an exhibition that brings together body and soul. At times playful, at times critical, moony or melancholy, cynical or naïve, fresh and enthusiastic – the works by over 70 artists from 20 countries revolve around the various aspects which constitute the broad topic of football: ball, players, field, rules, the referee, the fans, the media and the emotions. These themes are not merely documented and illustrated – the works of art encourage the visitor to give their imagination free reign and to enter new dimensions.

There is absolutely no question that art is interested in football. Via the everyday phenomenon of football, those devotees of the round leather ball are encouraged to take an interest in art. In the exhibition Rundlederwelten both parties can experience, in a playful and at the same time very forceful way, just how many aspects combine these two worlds. Rundlederwelten takes the whole battery of art and football and throws it enigmatically on to the field: the ability to seduce, ambition, sense of play, reflection, expertise, critique, irony and sarcasm, love and tenderness. On the playing field of that everyday reality of football, art reveals itself as an astute observer of the greatest pastime of the world: Football.

Artists participating in the exhibition

The great emotions of football, however, do not appear directly and immediately in many of the works, rather more they are understood as catalysts for a humorous interplay between losers and winners:

The French artist Jacques Julien presents an over-dimensional and completely demolished goal, Olaf Nicolai unnerves the viewer with his goal in loud camouflage, which seems to make an accurate shot a thing of the impossible. Stardom is manifested in Andy Warhol’s late 1970s portrait of Franz Beckenbauer.

German artist Michael Staab has set up a Büro für Desinformation: the outcome of all the 2006 FIFA World Cup games seem to have already been decided, or may we even decide ourselves? Where does what we call reality begin and where do our wishes and dreams end? The paintings of the Austrian Maria Lassnig show bodies at the edge of exhaustion. The German artist Ingeborg Lüscher in her video work “Fusion” lets two football teams play in business suits, the newcomer from Africa, Robin Rhode, stages in his video work a switch-over between fiction and reality, the Swiss artist and curator Stefan Banz dedicates his installation work to the football trainer Ottmar Hitzfeld or the Ukrainian artist Boris Mikhailov leads / seduces us to a walk through the lightness of a warm afternoon.

The exhibition idea

Rundlederwelten is an exhibition that illustrates, from many angles, how unexpectedly, astutely, meticulously and at the same time disarmingly, artists approach a subject that is so embedded in the everyday as football – through their artistic method an at once sensual and reflective thread through our reality, our day-to-day life, our existence, is developed. Parallel worlds appear in which we can disappear and at the end of the exhibition we find ourselves in a room devoted to the emotions and football devotional objects. In its theoretical and reflective freedoms art is far advanced of football, while football has its immediacy on art. Together they make for an alluring mixture.

And so Rundlederwelten is only in part an exhibition specialised on one subject, for the subject of football presents itself time and again as a means to approach other areas of life: at once a fine splinter from everyday culture and at another time with its compacted power and heat of emotions. 20 rooms to discover – rooms that seduce, surprise or even irritate.

On 2000 square metres of exhibition space, the entire upper floor of the Martin-Gropius-Bau, all the media of the Fine Arts are represented: painting, video, installations, drawings, sculptures and photography by 74 international artists. Of these, 16 artists have created new works especially for this exhibition.

A special edition of the magazine “ANSTOSS.” in German and English is available as a comprehensive catalogue to the exhibition

Organizer: Nationale DFB Kulturstiftung WM 2006 GmbH.
Official contribution forming part of the Federal Government’s art and culture programme for the FIFA World Cup 2006™ in cooperation with OK FIFA WM 2006
Schirmherrschaft: Gerhard Schröder, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Curators: After the concept by Harald Szeemann, curated by Dorothea Strauss