Gallery Champions League 2001(2001 revised 2017)

    Vejle KunstmuseumVejle
    Nordic HouseReykjavik
    Sparwasser HQBerlin

The Draughtman’s contractby Simon Sheikh(2002 revised 2016)

Amel Ibrahimovic was himself once an active footballer in his native Bosnia, and even managed to play in the national under 21 squad - a team that was since dispersed during the civil war. As a refugee in Denmark he took an interest in art, and soon started making drawings from old photos of himself and his friend and former teammates playing football. Or sometimes just drawing the motifs from memory. This was an act of remembrance and commemorance, since he had lost touch with most of them, as they became spread across Europe in various refugee camps. Some he simply lost track of, whereas others were gone for good, having died in the war.

After this initial series, Ibrahimovic began drawing all the national teams of the Euro 2000, but with famous artists replacing the footballers. A seemingly nonsensical act, that nonetheless mirrored the replacement of his former friends and colleagues for imaginary new ones of the art world he now entered as an art student. Whereas he was projecting his lost and imaginary past into the series with Bosnian Youth Players, he was now projecting his unknown and imaginary future into art star series. These drawings, then, represent a double movement: back to the future. As such they are also locked in a double bind, and supplied with an ethical imperative - as if he is indeed continuing the halted lives and fragmented existences of his peers into the art world. The migratory experience: A new career in a new town. And it is this double bind that drives Ibrahimovic's drawings - an ethical imperative to speak for the dead: The Draughtsman's contract.

Textby Anders Kold(2001 revised 2016)

In his pieces, Amel Ibrahimovic allows the world of art to meet the world of soccer. He amalgamates these two worlds and, taking his point of departure in soccer, he arranges the world of art in a new and different way. The country’s different artists now make up national teams that play against one another, while a number of different art critics function as the referees. The style, the layout and the presentation strategies indigenous to the world of soccer invade Ibrahimovic's art, which gets high and low culture to collide in what is a cunning but mild critique of both art's and soccer's nationalistic bonds. Soccer's populist status is not glorified all that much, as art's affairs of high-culture are drawn out from the institution and into everyday life. Art is traditionally connected with the lofty and the refined. Whenever you enter the museum, you symbolically ascend a stairway and you take your leave of the everyday world for the sake of visiting a sphere of high and refined culture. But art and the art institution, which seem to be free of everyday life's filth and hubbub, certainly do take part in the very real struggle for power just as much as soccer does. Ibrahimovic renders this visible by availing himself of soccer's line-ups and accessories. In this way, Ibrahimovic delineates the lineups with the country's art elite dressed in uniforms of the national teams, in the from of group portraits and individual idol pictures which seem to have been torn out from the soccer magazines typically read by young boys.


  • Neben Colonel, der sich in früheren Arbeiten mit der geopolitischen Aufteilung der Welt befasst hat, ist das etwa Amel Ibrahimovic, Jahrgang 1977, der in seiner Heimat Bosnien aktiver Fußballspieler war, nach der Flucht aus Ex-Jugoslawien die Kunst für sich entdeckte, ein Studium an der Funen Art Academy, Odense aufnahm und der nun in seinen Zeichnungen die Veränderungen der sein Leben prägenden Parameter nachvollzieht: Anfangs nimmt er alte Fotos von sich und seinen Sportkameraden und geht zeichnerisch noch einmal die Erinnerung an Menschen durch, die inzwischen in alle Welt verstreut sind oder die im jüngsten Balkan-Krieg getötet wurden. In einer nachfolgenden Serie ändert sich der Bezugsrahmen. Zwar dreht sich weiter alles um Fußball: Ibrahimovic nimmt die Mannschaften der EM 2000 als Sujet. Aber er macht sie zu Projektionsflächen seiner geänderten Daseinsbedingungen. Ibrahimovic gehört jetzt zur „Kunstwelt“ und er reflektiert diese Veränderung, indem er die Gesichter der Spieler durch Porträts bekannter zeitgenössischer Künstler substituiert.