Marco Scotti and Jonathan Monk

Marco Scotti:  In this interview I would love to discuss with you about football and art. Football and conceptual arts could seem very distant at a first glance, but in your work they are both part of a unique, coherent discourse… What has been your first artwork to include football in some way? And how have you approached images, concepts and ideas from football imagery and brought them into your work?

Jonathan MonkI think the first football related work was titled Remake of the Weekend and I was still a student so it was probably 1990 or ’91. I remade a version of Jeff Koons Equilibrium tank works but replaced the perfectly floating basketballs with one sunken and one hovering football… football as a sport does seem to be rather imbalanced and unpredictable (at the top level at least) and the fans can’t be seen as level headed.

MS: In The little things make all the difference you moved the ball in different positions manipulating old photos of football matches. Is this action in some way connected with the notion of truth?

JM: Some years later I made a series of photographs of the moody skies above football stadiums in England during matches – as if the heavens could control the outcome or result.

MS: You once said that the concept of originality for an artist is very subjective, it depends on the weather. Do you think we could say the same in football, a very old game that seems repeating itself, at the same time changing continuously?

JM: A very interesting question… it is rare to see similar repetitive action in football matches. The rules are the same the world over but the game is never boring and never the same (not always true) – football has changed dramatically even in my life time – it is much faster now… and tactics do play a very strong role. I guess this could be the same within the art world – success could be found by tactically placing yourself in the right place at the right time… but I think art is perhaps more about luck than judgement. He talks a good game but is a terrible player.

MS: Do you have football books in your collection?

JM: Not really… I do have a couple of books from childhood. I received a history of football book as a gift from my grandfather – he managed to get it signed by the complete Leicester City squad.

MS: Is there something regarding football currently on your phone?

JM: On my phone – I think there are a few pictures… Jamie Vardy warming up at the side of the pitch and David Beckham at a restaurant in Berlin… the no photographs policy makes it impossible to tell who it is… I also have Sky sports and DAZN so I’m able to watch live games on the go.

MS: You are a Leicester City fan currently living in Berlin: are you still watching live football matches sometimes?

JM: I watch as many as I can live on TV or similar and go to the stadium whenever possible… not easy at the moment… Leicester went back into lockdown.

MS: Are you ever nostalgic, both regarding football and art?

JM: Yes – but only for specific moments within football… not so much within art or perhaps it’s just different not so emotionally charged –  

MS: One last question: if you could interview one football player, who would you choose?

JM: Difficult – maybe Paul Gascoigne… a tragic genius – I watched this game in Glasgow…