David Beckham

New Commission of footballer David Beckham


A new video portrait of David Beckham by international artist Sam Taylor-Wood will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery from Tuesday 27 April 2004. The portrait has been commissioned by the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery and made possible by JPMorgan through the Fund for New Commissions.

David is an intimate portrait, which was shot in a single long take. Beckham was filmed sleeping, after training in Madrid. Simply lit from one light source this rich, painterly film presents a reverential and vulnerable image of this international football icon.

Born in Leytonstone, East London, in 1975, David Beckham had scored over 100 goals for his childhood team, Ridgeway Wanderers, by the age of eight. In 1991 he signed to play for Manchester United and made his first-team debut four years later. Beckham was named "Young Player of the Year" in the 1996/7 season and won his first England Cap in September 1997. In 1999 he helped Manchester United win the "Treble", playing some of the best football of his career. Beckham was appointed England captain in 2000 and led England to a memorable 5-1 victory over Germany in the 2002 World Cup qualifying round. In July 2003, Beckham left Manchester United to play for Real Madrid. Much attention will be on Beckham again this summer as England captain for the 2004 European Championships in Portugal.

Sam Taylor-Wood (b.1967) graduated from Goldsmiths College in 1990. Her work in photography and film has won her much international critical acclaim, including the Illy Café Prize for Most Promising Young Artist at the Venice Biennale (1997) and a Turner Prize nomination (1998). Taylor-Wood is at the forefront of the new generation of contemporary British art. Since her first solo exhibition at White Cube in 1995, she has had numerous solo exhibitions, including being the youngest artist ever to be granted a solo exhibition at The Hayward Gallery. Taylor-Wood is currently working with Ray Winstone on a feature film based on the life of William Blake and will be exhibiting a new body of work in September 2004 in New York.

Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, said : "Sam Taylor-Wood offers a compelling view of David Beckham as he lies asleep. It is an intriguing and intimate portrait of one of England's finest footballers and we are delighted that we have been able to commission it with the support of JPMorgan."

Sam Taylor-Wood said : "Making a portrait of a much-photographed man like David Beckham was a challenge. I wanted to create a direct, closely observed study. Filming while he was asleep produces a different view from the many familiar, public images".

JPMorgan said : "We are proud to continue our long-standing commitment to the arts through the creation of the Fund for New Commissions with the National Portrait Gallery. We believe that investment in this fund will provide a platform for future development of new portraits and encourage the ongoing support for new and emerging artists."

David by Sam Taylor Wood will be displayed in Room 41a from 27th April 2004

Notes to Editors

  • Sam Taylor-Wood's Self-portrait in single-breasted suit with hare was acquired by the Gallery in 2002
  • David Beckham is represented by four portraits in the Photographs Collection by Nadav Kander, Lorenzo Agius and Dean Freeman (with Victoria Beckham)
  • David is 1hour 7 minutes long and is shown as a continuous loop on a 40" 4:3 Plasma screen.

For further press information please contact:
Hazel Sutherland, Press Officer, National Portrait Gallery
Tel 020 7312 2452 (not for publication) Email hsutherland@npg.org.uk

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