Based on the dimension of Dudek’s childhood bedroom in Krakow, Marcin Dudek’s Central Contact installation recreates the security surveillance hub and architecture of a stadium. The two part structure is a composite of salvaged materials, security cameras and video monitors that thrust the viewer into the dark memories of historic football riots. Through the welded skeletal frame, including fragments of stadium fencing and a turnstile studded with nails, a kinetic stadium model slowly rotates on a motor. Flanked by four cameras trained on the interior, live footage is streamed to monitors in the opposite section of the installation.
Akin to a security control room, the monitors screen disparate viewpoints that converge archival and personal images embedded in the stadium. The sweep of visual materials follows a crowd storming a football field under billows of flare smoke. Packs of men in orange jackets congregate, others fill stadium stands, captured in moments of euphoria. At points the artist appears in these crowds, whilst other masses are dotted with world leaders; Reagan holds an Olympic flame and Mussolini appears gesticulating, almost indistinguishable from the hordes of football fans. Dudek describes the installation as a memory box: the stadium conjures the realm of mob violence and the hypnotising grip of the stadium; the surveillance room evokes the mechanics of processing traumatic experience.
Dudek’s interdisciplinary oeuvre mines the stadium’s messages, materials and political contexts, investigating group behaviour and crowd dynamics. Dudek’s preoccupation with hooligan subculture retraces his traumatic teenage experiences as a member of an infamously violent Krakow football fanclub, a defining youth culture in post-communist Poland.
Marcin Dudek (b. 1979, Krakow) studied at the University of Art Mozarteum, Salzburg, and Central Saint Martins, London, graduating in 2005 and 2007 respectively. Forthcoming exhibitions include Art of the Terraces, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK (2022); Kunsthal Extra City Antwerp, Belgium (2023) and IKOB Museum, Eupen, Belgium (2023). Recent solo institutional exhibitions include Ultraskraina, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, Paris, France (2021); The Crowd Man, MWW Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Wroclaw, Poland (2019); The Lure of the Arena, MNAC National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania (2019). Selected group exhibitions include 8th Biennial of Painting, Museum Deinze and the Lys Region and Museum Roger Raveel, Deinze, Belgium (2022); TEA Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain (2022); DOPPELGANGER, Entreprendre & KANAL-Centre Pompidou, Brussels, Belgium (2021); Psychic Wounds: On Art & Trauma, The Warehouse, Dallas, USA (2020); Giochi Senza Frontiere, Palazzo Mazzarino, Manifesta12, Palermo, Italy (2018). His work is included in international collections including MWW Wroclaw Contemporary Museum; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest; Museum of Art of the Province of Hainaut. Dudek lives and works in Brussels.