What has Rodin got to do with the World Cup?

6th July, 2018

As far as culture goes I enjoy mixing so-called low and high. This week I went to the British Museum and marvelled at the Rodin exhibition. His sculptures are astonishingly visceral and physically accurate. There are some such as his famous ‘The Kiss’ and ‘The Burghers of Calais’ which you could imagine suddenly moving and coming to life but what filled my mind and made me think for some time afterwards was a quote from Rodin:

“It’s the artist who tells the truth and the photographer who lies”.

A couple of days later I went home and watched an interesting group-stage World Cup match between England and Columbia; my low-culture fix, I suppose. Like every other England fan my heart was in my mouth, especially when that extra time Columbia goal brought them equal so that we had to endure another 30 minutes plus a penalty shoot-out. But all was well and with England’s last penalty Kieron Dier sealed the win. It was tense and at times uncomfortable to watch but by and large, enjoyable.

There wasn’t a great deal of thinking material to be honest but what caught my attention was the views of fans captured by the camera crew. And so here’s the link with Rodin; if the photography was to be believed then the stadium was filled with excited and glamorous young women, a smattering of cute kiddies and their parents and a few drunken men with large bellies and/or wearing strange, in some way relevant costumes in support of either England or Columbia. I’m inclined to think therefore, that the photographers are lying and simply indulging their own titillations and humour. It’s all a bit depressing really to be filling the viewers vision with such tired stereotypes. I really hope there was an artist there who in time might tell us the truth.

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