Join us on Wednesday 5 December
from 6-8pm for the opening of
Evan Pank’s solo exhibition Flare Up.
Artist Evan Pank is a football tragic. An avid Sydney FC supporter and a member of its fan group The Cove, he followed the World Cup trail to Russia and Eastern Europe in June-July this year. His own experiences as a football fan – of the passion and volatility of the game atmosphere and the interconnection of sport with politics and community identity are the drivers in his art.
“The focus of my work is grounded in the emotion and the passion of the supporter culture that provides an outlet for political expression. Questions of identity and political communication is present but it is the act and the moment that is important, a suggestive rather than documentary approach. Developing a deeper understanding why football and political activism are interconnected a contemporary context. Its relevance demonstrated by the discussion around the Fear Derby, the role of FC St Pauli and its fans in political activism. The club and rivalry helps to substantiate the emotional involvement of fans in their club and political communication through football stadia. A physical forum and outlet for supporters in what is an increasingly digitalised world. My own experiences are essential contexts for creating this work and provides an explanation for my own passion for football. The experiences as a football fan to hostile venues and witnessing violent clashes between fans provides an emotional framework for my practice. Understanding the intentions of supporters to promote their club and identity which lead to clashes with rivals who represent the antithesis of their own image.
My experience allows me to create work that provides an engaging insight into the chaotic atmosphere of a football game. The introduction of political expression and antagonism adding another layer of cultural discourse and identity, another motivator for fan behavior”. – Evan Pank, Artist Statement, 2018
Rivalries based on socio-economic status, sectarian identification and political issues as well as club allegiances motivate and fester in the passionate supporter communities. Flags, banners, songs and chants, the trappings of protest ignite the colour, chaos and charged atmosphere and excitement of fans on game day. Spray paint and stencils and screen-printing, the mediums of cheap and effective choice for football supporter culture and also for political activists for dissemination of propaganda are fittingly Pank’s chosen mediums too for his panoramic homages to football and fandom.
Orange, yellow and violet coloured smoke from marine distress flares, another tool from the supporter arsenal, is introduced in defiant gestural underlays into Pank’s more recent images, Keeping the bastards honest 2 and Fan-owned Salzburg.
His apparently single and cohesive images are a mix, taken from media sources and his own photographs of football and wider societal protest and street clashes. It is the immediacy of the act and the moment that is primary in his portrayals, focussing on the crossover of global political discourse and activism and its reflection in football fan culture.
Evan Pank was the winner of the 2017 Artereal Gallery Mentorship Award, awarded each year to one graduating Honours student from Sydney College of the Arts. Pank was also awarded the inaugural Megalo Print Studio Residency Award and subsequently undertook a residency at Megalo Print Studio in Canberra in May 2018. These recent accolades follow on from what was a very busy and rewarding period for Pank. In 2017, Pank was also selected to exhibit at The Other Art Fair Sydney in 2017 and was awarded the 2017 Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award.