Yinka Ilori unveils a summer pavilion in Berlin

Vibrant colour belies a serious purpose: to reflect on racism in football

While planning its latest exhibition on racism in football, Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt called on Yinka Ilori, the British-Nigerian artist celebrated for eye-catching installations imbued with symbolism.

The cultural centre – devoted to contemporary art that examines non-European cultures, societies and attitudes – commissioned a summer pavilion where visitors could reflect on issues of migration, discrimination and solidarity ahead of UEFA’s EURO 2024 championship games. Ilori responded with a typically exuberant expression on the theme. His life-sized timber abacus incorporates West African calabash gourds with mirrored faces meant to encourage introspection.

Ilori used yellow- and green-painted timber to support his circular platform and canopy. The calabash walls are left unpainted on one side to resemble wood beads in an abacus. Those supported by the canopy are painted green.

Viewed from the outside, Ilori’s threaded gourds might resemble fans in a stadium. Yet inside, they help visitors explore the two conflicting sides of spectator sport. Part temple, part examination room, the space brings people together in a communal purpose, yet also forces them to consider the antisocial behaviour that can overtake the joy of the game. From the perspective of the stepped interior, such behaviour would be impossible to hide – hence the name, Reflection in Numbers.

The pavilion will remain in situ alongside Ballet of the Masses – on Football and Catharsis, the exhibition on show until 10 July.

Photography: Hannes Wiedemann

Read next: Phyllida Barlow’s monumental sculptures take over Hauser & Wirth Somerset this summer

Minsuk Cho launches his pavilion(s) at London’s Serpentine Galleries



Share Tweet