Esoteric Football League

David Spooner

27 Aug 2010 to 2 Oct 2010

"The idea of the football field as a constricted location where masculinity is constructed is an irony seldom lost on homosexual men who have not traditionally been welcomed into this exclusive zone of manhood. Contact sports, particularly the football codes, are sites of ambiguous messaging, where curious rituals of male bonding resolutely exclude women while (somehow) affirming masculine heterosexual identities. This Darwinian environment of brute survival that casts a shadow over formative years can be the stuff of nightmares for men of “questionable” sexuality. While ultimately many men might choose not to play the game, memories of sporting culture linger in a murky cauldron of inadequacy and heightened eroticism."

"It is in this vortex of confusion, where sexual fantasy and ostracism from the tribe/team generate a brittle sense of identity, that David Spooner has positioned his soft sculptures to question masculinity as it is perceived through the filters of sporting prowess. There is a surreal element to Spooner’s textile sculptures in keeping with the Freudian view of a life force (Eros) fractured by memories of past experience and emerging deep from within a psyche damaged on the “field of dreams”. Working with traditional feminine crafts such as stitching and quilting, Spooner weaves a masculine overlay consisting of a quasi-mathematical numerological narrative based on the number sixteen – denoting the sixteen candles that represent coming of age and sixteen being the number of players in his imaginary football code."

From David Broker's 2014 essay for David Spooner's Electronic Football League at The Walls.

Image: David Spooner, installation view, 2010.

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