“Goalkeepers are all fools,” Diego Armando Maradona once said, and throughout his career he devoted himself to making them pay for it. Every goal scored by the Ten equalled a One scattered, bent, tangled, stretched to the limit of his possibilities, stumbled, disoriented, in short: defeated. It is the karma of the keeper: he embellishes the scene when he fails. As the tango says, first you have to know how to suffer. Or, put another way: 1- Suffer.

Martin Kazanietz spent much of his childhood watching archers, and drawing them. He couldn't take his eyes off them. It is very likely that this early fascination has determined his future as an artist, if we take into account that there is no outfield player that offers so many possibilities when it comes to representing a body. Each tackle is a contortion. None is the same as the other. The imaginary line that joins the goalkeeper's hands with his feet and head is an unpredictable squiggle and drawing that line, then, becomes an excellent exercise to loosen the wrist, not far from that of a graffiti artist who draws his name in spray paint on a wall, and then another and then another. Always the same, always different.

Like the graffiti that M.K. painted in his twenties, his archers have no background or context, but rather are shaped by their surroundings. What’s a goalkeeper doing in an art gallery? For starters, he moves away from the goal, and thus becomes invincible (even Maradona can't score a goal if he has nowhere to kick). On the other hand, that could be a superhero: someone who wears colorful costumes, defies gravity, fascinates children... and is not standing under the three posts.

Renowned preachers of suffering such as Pope John Paul II and Javier Milei, president of Argentina, share a past of goalkeeper. Maradona got into a fight with one and undoubtedly would have fought with the other if he had not had the bad taste of dying in 2020. The truth is that it’s hard to respect someone who prefers to use their hands in a sport that is played with their feet. Why do they do that? Because it’s easier? The law of least effort has been greatly misunderstood.

But properly understood, it is a great law. It’s about not wasting energy, about calculating the minimum effort needed to reach the goal. In English, by the way, “objetivo” is “goal”, which brings us face to face with the paradox that the goal of the archer is to prevent the goal. You can't get more obnoxious. On the other hand, that's definitely a villain: someone who goes against logic, revels in suffering, fascinates children... and makes Maradona angry.

In this gallery of villains the archers may not be defeated but at least they were painted.

Text by Lucas Garófalo