Altera Porta

The german word ‘beiläufig’ seems to have no english equivalent, the most accurate description might be ‘in passing’. Literally, it translates as ’running alongside (something or someone)’. Having accompanied the Viennese all female football team FC Altera Porta over the course of four weeks three times each week during their training sessions that preceded the start of a season of matches; Putz’ running along them resulted in a novel, experimental approach to classical sports documentary. Prevailing limiting beliefs about identity and thus capacity are being undermined, presenting a fuller understanding of being per se. The detecting of several dichotomies unfolds into an overture towards a more honest examination about imposed confinements regarding personas and potential, crystallizing a more complex scenario in advance of heroism, the-epic-moment or our culture’s cognizance. Sports merchandise is a vital component of a team’s and single player’s identity. Resembling contemporary “heroes”, athletes become an ideal surface for affiliating brands, given that today persona is a currency that weighs almost as much as cold cash.The inclination to disregard gender in the business of the embodiment of brands renders sportsmanship as a perhaps more egalitarian professional field of our times, boiling down to irreducible and relevant denominators: ability and a winning record. However, there is still much to be done not only concerning the selection process but also respective the wage gap in sports in toto. The photographs are printed on traditional carriers of football fan collectibles – weiss beer glasses – but the artist chose nonconformist poses and, also uncommon, included the background. One of the strongest distinctive features of this series is due to it being shot in the dark. The camera flash not only provides acute contrast but is also being reflected by designations on the ground and branding on the attire of the players. Corresponding to perceived borders via gender bias, the boundaries of the playing field are respected, when in fact they would be very easy to overcome. Bruce Nauman’s ‘Walking in an exaggerated manner along the perimeter of a square’ is brought to mind, and not evoked merely by similar marks on the ground, the players, too, seem to partially leave the photographs, unintentionally signifying the extension of the genre. Their looks are always pointing to an area beyond the captured, and it is remarkable how much we can grasp about the game just by using the person in the photo as a seismograph. Not only are the players engulfed in the enormity of the task, they are simultaneously absorbed as part of a corpus while preserving their separateness as an individual. Analogous to the now ever present bond between an individual and the collective by means of internet, the detached single person is perpetually watching and reacting to the mass, this is apparent in those on the pitch, though just as much in players remaining on the bench. For a while now, people not only resort to digital connectedness, a remarkable amount is being observed to flock to crowds, be it religious or political. The great return of herd instinct is hardly a surprise in unstable periods that reckon violent attacks by dissenters as almost ordinary. To some it might be their active comment on the subject of individualism. Tantamount to one’s ‘disappearance’ per norm core in fashion, being a link of a chain can feel safe and empowering, it can confirm beliefs and bestow momentum. Many find liberation in forsaking uniqueness.The players’ incorporation of both, being solo and together, harvests various forms, at times being evocative of mannerism, then again finding expression in symmetry of movement. Albeit photographs, the motion within the stasis in this series is agitating, the ferocity is tangible. The grainy texture of the photographs adds physicality and counters digital age related comparisons to screens, sweeps and the like. To the artist, nothing could have been further from technological devices, for the shootings i.e. took place outside at the end of winter. Amidst all the fierceness, traits considered to be directly opposed are emerging: sensitivity, contemplativeness, delicateness. As if the player’s whole being is applied and all their facets poured into the training at once, we seem to behold a pull in more than one direction.

Text by Petrasevic Sandra , 2017


Exhibition View 'unu O unu' at Parasol Unit - Foundation for Contemporary Art , London