No amateur football, no professional football, no Champions League, no UEFA Euro 2020, no champions this year. For over a century, football has brought people together. Now, ‘the most important side issue in life’ has come to a grinding halt.

European Fields by Hans van der Meer, a project including a book and a travelling exhibition, shows the primal form of the game: twenty-two players on a pitch, no matter their talent, no matter where. Passionately playing together, in a setting far away from the Champions League. His observations of life at the bottom of the football pyramid show not only how football is part of the landscape, but also how deeply the game and its rituals are rooted in human culture. With mild irony, Van der Meer demonstrates the mismatch between human ambition and the effective result, between an individual’s ‘inside’ perception and a more objective, distanced view of our behaviour. Amateur football as the perfect metaphor for life at large.

The European Fields exhibition contained a number of video observations as well as photographic football landscapes. These were shot across Europe: from Belgium to the UK, Portugal, France and Italy. As part of the cultural programme surrounding Euro 2000, the first one Vlaamse Velden (Flemish Fields), dates back to exactly 20 years ago.

In these days of social distancing, Paradox and partners, ranging from the world of football as well as the arts, wish to share these short movies with you. We will be launching five ‘matches of the week’ on consecutive weekends, starting May 8 on our YouTube Channel: youtube.paradox.nl

Spread the word and enjoy them while staying safely at home!

 

Launch dates 

May 8:  Vlaamse Velden – text Jan Mulder

May 15: Calciatori della domenica – text Matteo Dore

May 22: Saturday Afternoon, Sunday Morning – text David Winner

May 29: Campo de futebol – text João Nuno Coelho

Join the live streaming event tonight at 10.30pm CET via the link: live.paradox.nl

Live talk with: João Nuno Coelho (football researcher, author and commentator) Rui Prata (director of Imago Lisboa) and photographers Paulo Catrica and Hans van der Meer. Bas Vroege will introduce the event.

The talk will be in Portuguese with Hans’ and Bas’ intervention in English.

June 5: Foot Provençal

Authors

Hans van der Meer (b. 1955) studied photography at MTS in The Hague, followed by a residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. He is probably best known for his series on amateur football, Dutch Fields (1998) and European Fields (2006, published by Steidl/MACK). In 2009, Camera Austria hosted a retrospective of his work. Through photography, film and writing Van der Meer examines the world around him. For example, his images of amateur football are also an exploration of human nature within the landscape. In The Netherlands – Off the shelf (2012) he wryly observes the increasingly homogenous built environment of provincial Dutch towns. With his latest project, Time to Change Van der Meer shows us the remarkable world of dairy farming. Hans van der Meer is based in Amsterdam and teaches at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

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