Marianna Simnett at the Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart

Marianna Simnett at the Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart


New Institutional Exhibition

Marianna Simnett, WINNER, is on view from 17.05.2024 to 03.11.2024 at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart.

Marianna Simnett is an artist and musician living and working in Berlin. Simnett uses vivid and visceral means to explore the body as a site of transformation. In psychologically charged works that challenge both herself and the viewer, Simnett imagines radical new worlds filled with untamed thoughts, strange tales and desires.

In 2022, Simnett presented new works at the 59th Venice Biennale: The Milk of Dreams, Castello di Rivoli, Turin, and Société, Berlin. Simnett has exhibited in numerous prestigious institutions, including Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin (2021); the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2020); Kunsthalle Zürich (2019); the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (2019); Copenhagen Contemporary (2018); the New Museum, New York (2018); and the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2018).

The Winner series

Marianna Simnett’s WINNER is a multichannel film installation, conceived as a three-act dance for film told through the lens of football.

WINNER echoes the dramaturgy of the game and dissects its socially constructed power hierarchies, crowd psychology, and constant pressure to perform. Through the element of dance, the work restages and radically transforms football’s most impassioned moments: elation and triumph, brutality and ferocity, suffering and defeat.

Set on a football pitch, the film is adapted from the 1954 short story The Destructors by Graham Greene. An extraordinary group of dancers morphs between hooligans and footballers. The plot pivots around the group’s destruction of a magical-realist house of cards, owned by a former referee whose decisions are paramount to the winning and losing of a game. Presiding over the action and chanting from the stands are a chorus of baby Ultra fans, voiced by the American singer and performer Lydia Lunch.

Hallucinatory worlds

Simnett’s vivid hallucinatory world extends beyond the screen into the exhibition space, subverting the architecture of football and transporting it into the museum. Upon entering a long tunnel, alluding to the womb-like passage that footballers run through before beginning the game, viewers will be met with a choreography of images which travel around the room, interrupted by melancholic songs about winning.

Modern Allegories

Simnett's work serves as a testament to the enduring power of storytelling as a means of understanding ourselves and our place in the world. By tapping into the collective unconscious, she invites us to embark on a journey of self-discovery, guided by the timeless wisdom embedded within these ancient tales. In doing so, she reminds us of the universality of human experience, transcending the boundaries of culture, time, and space.