Mata’s ‘art’ return to England

Juan will be present at the Manchester International Festival. He will be the protagonist through the project ‘The Trequartista – Art and Football United’, which starts this summer and will end with an exhibition in the 2025 edition.

Juan Mata returns to one of his favourite cities. He will do so during the Manchester International Festival, whose 2023 edition will be held from 29 June to 16 July in the English capital. With the event’s program revealed, the Spanish football player will be the protagonist, thanks to an exhibition he will prepare with Hans Ulrich Obrist, an artist based in Berlin. Other stars on the lineup for the biennial festival include Janelle Monáe, Maxine Peake and Lemn Sissay.

“It is fantastic to be returning to Manchester, the city I called home for more than eight years, and to be part of Manchester International Festival for the first time,” Juan said. The initiative bears a name with a classic football flavour: ‘The Trequartista – Art and Football United’. Josh Willdigg has written and developed the project. It consists of the union of footballers and artists around the concept of ‘Trequartista’ (a figure that links the midfield and the forward, with great technical capacity). “When I watch players like Zinédine Zidane, Dennis Bergkamp, Éric Cantona… they were like artists on the pitch,” added Mata.

Artists and football players, hand in hand for two years

Eleven contemporary artists and eleven footballers will spend two years preparing a group show that will be shown at the 2025 edition of the Manchester International Festival. Mata is pleased about his participation in the assembly: “Bringing together two of my passions: the worlds of football and art.”

The creation ‘This Entry’, by Tino Sehgal (an artist who has exhibited his work in the most prestigious galleries on the planet), will premiere for the first time at the festival and can be seen at the National Football Museum in Manchester and The Whitworth. Tino’s production, in which Juan was also involved, will be the starting point for ‘The Trequartista – Art and Football United’.

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