POSTS / PLAYING AWAY 1996 – onwards
Photographic archive of images taken by Neville Gabie of informal goalposts found around the world.
Originally motivated by the sculptural qualities of these goalposts and the spaces where the game is played, the project has developed into an objective archive of diverse cultural landscapes with a common obsession, football. What began as a personal interest whilst working in South Africa in 1996, the project and archive now includes over 1000 photographs from over forty countries and every continent.
Photographing the first of these structures I immediately recognized something of what I was striving to achieve as an artist. Formally they explore sculptural concerns; the need to occupy a physical space, to stand up against the forces of gravity as well as a practical inventiveness with the assembly of all sorts of materials. Pictorially, they are literally a window into vastly different spaces, intimately reflecting their immediate environment by using whatever material is readily available, whether that is stones, wood or paint. Inevitably they are also territorial. Whether in the vast open space of the bush or an urban backstreet, they are about claiming a space. Whilst not created as art, common to all are the endless possibilities for reinvention within the strict rules of two verticals and a horizontal.
The photographs are deliberately simple, each image taken from just behind the penalty spot, with the goalpost centre-frame. Devoid of action, they are intended as quiet reflections of the ephemera left behind once the game has moved on. They are also deliberately photographed to place the viewer at the very centre of where it all happens – inside the penalty box with the whole goalmouth squarely in your sights: an objectivity through which every landscape can be observed equally dispassionately.
Since 1996 the whole concept has grown with the photographs covering every continent. Some of these images were first published by Penguin Books – Posts, in 1999 and republished in Germany in 2006. They have also been exhibited in Japan, Korea, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, FIFA Headquarters, Portugal, Macedonia, the UK, including Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool. A touring exhibition Playing Away UK was curated by Oriel Mostyn Galley between 2002/07
See press page for more info