London gallery turns Premier League football match into an art installation

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The north London commercial gallery Oof, which is dedicated to the intersection between art and football, has continued its incursion into the UK’s sporting culture by exhibiting an original artwork to millions of viewers during a Premier League football match at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in London last week.

On Saturday 12 November at 3pm, during Tottenham’s 4-3 victory against Leeds United, Oof appropriated the advertising boards surrounding the pitch of the 60,000-capacity stadium with a text-based work by the Turner-prize nominated artist Mark Titchner that read: We Believe In Us. The installation marks the first occasion an artist has displayed work during a Premier League match.

“It smashed up perceived boundaries between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture,” Oof’s co-founder Justin Hammond tells The Art Newspaper.

Titchner’s work was shown on every screen in the ground at kick off, as the winning goal went in, and as the final whistle blew. Millions of people watched the game’s live broadcast. Footage of the artwork also featured on BBC’s Match of the Day.

“Seeing my artwork displayed in a raucous, packed stadium was an intense, humbling experience,” Titchner says. “It was amazing to see how this simple, four word phrase could be charged with the emotion of thousands of passionate supporters becoming much more than I ever could have imagined.”

Oofopened in July 2021 in a 19th-century Georgian townhouse that is attached to the gift shop of the north London club’s new stadium.

Exhibitions at Oof have included Martin Parr’s photography of football terraces, a group show of artist’s interpretation of balls that included Sarah Lucas, Marcus Harvey and Hank Willis Thomas, and paintings by George Shaw. A solo exhibition of Titchner’s work is on show at the gallery until 26 November.

The gallery’s other co-founder, Time Out London’s art editor Eddy Frankel, says: “It’s always been Oof’s mission to use football as a way of getting people into art, and last Saturday we showed art to 60,000 ultra emotional fans in a huge stadium. It’s the ultimate expression of everything we’ve always strived for.”

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