4. Halbzeit
4. Halbzeit | © Wermke / Leinkauf, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2019

In their work, Wermke/Leinkauf explore the phenomenon of organised football fans and ultras in the context of socio-political protests.

About the production

This spatial installation by the artist duo Wermke/Leinkauf uses two brightly flickering stadium displays facing each other, to present scenes of crowds attending political protests and football matches – underscored by an ear-splitting soundscape of football chants. In their work, Wermke/Leinkauf explore the phenomenon of organised football fans and ultras in the context of socio-political protests. Hence the title of the work, which goes beyond the ultras arrangement of a third half – for celebration but also for riots outside the stadium – to ask for a fourth half: an expanded space where football can be activated, independent of football matches, for the purposes of protest. Football fans played a key role in the protests in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, in the so-called Arab Spring and the Maidan demonstrations in Kyiv. Out of a largely apolitical, often destructive pool of fanatical football fans, new and multi-faceted groups sometimes emerged who supported political protest beyond the stadium with their techniques of resistance.

Wermke/Leinkauf demonstrate how these groups, which have existed since the 1970s and represent Germany’s largest youth subculture, are capable of being mobilised in graphic images veering between fascination and horror.

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