The Saints

The Saints is part of The Artangel Collection.

  • Artist: Paul Pfeiffer
  • Title: The Saints
  • Date: 2007
  • Medium: 16 channel sound, 16 speakers, 2 projected single-channel videos, 1 monitor
  • Dimensions: Variable
  • Duration: 32 minutes and 37 seconds
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My pulse is still racing. I’ve just been to Wembley and watched probably the greatest football match played in my lifetime. The atmosphere was incredible: deafening crowd noise, amazing passion on the pitch, bizarre twists in the game. And the most astonishing thing? Apart from the man on the door, I was the only person there. – Richard Morrison, The Times, 6 October 2007

American artist Paul Pfeiffer has long been fascinated by the dynamics of great sporting occasions, by the iconic figures at the heart of the spectacle and the crowds who flock to the stadium to watch and cheer and worship. For the large-scale sound and video installation The Saints, Pfeiffer took as a starting point the most famous sporting occasion in England – the 1966 World Cup Final between England and Germany. Moving between bubbling enthusiasm, edgy anxiety and intense communal joy, a largely empty interior reverberates to the sounds of a now phantom spectacle moving around the space as if the crowd itself were still there. In a self-contained room within the space, original footage of the match plays alongside a video of Filipino fans cheering and chanting as if they were the crowd in 1966. On a tiny monitor in the large space, a solitary figure runs around the Wembley pitch, as if lost in time and space.


Image: Paul Pfeiffer, The Saints, 2007 (detail). Photograph: Thierry Bal