2 May 2004: Art: Amy Raphael on David | Beck’s Futures 2004
David by Sam Taylor-Wood National Portrait Gallery, London WC2
Beck’s Futures 2004 ICA, London SW1
David Beckham asleep. No dribbling, no snoring. Just a video of a pretty man with a halo of blond hair lying peacefully on starched white sheets in a Madrid hotel room. It’s ephemeral, it’s pop art. Nothing more. Worth perhaps five minutes of your time. Yet Sam Taylor-Wood, supposedly at the forefront of British contemporary art, clearly has delusions of grandeur. It’s fair enough to cite Andy Warhol, but Michelangelo?
Taylor-Wood wanted to find a way of portraying the Real Madrid and England star as we had never seen him before and, of course, the idea of watching Beckham sleep is a tantalising one, but the reality is that we learn very little from the 67-minute video.
Although Beckham is naked and supposedly asleep (is he really capable of posing even in his sleep?), there is an odd lack of intimacy and vulnerability to the work.
Better perhaps to celebrate the beer instead of the footballer. Down the road at the ICA is the Beck’s Futures exhibition, which last Tuesday announced its £24,000 winner. Competing against the likes of Tonico Lemos Auad’s enchanting rabbits and monkeys made out of carpet fluff, Dutch-born Saskia Olde Wolbers picked up her cheque from Yoko Ono for Interloper, an abstract video narrated by a comatose man in intensive care.
Sounds weird, yes, but it actually works. It’s only six minutes long and is far more compelling than a snoozing footballer.