Artist Fiona Banner unveiled her latest exhibition yesterday at the Tate Britain, of two decommissioned fighter aircraft models of aircraft the Sea Harrier and the Sepecat Jaguar.
Banner, who was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2002, is better-known in the art world for her “wordscapes”, or hand-written and printed texts that retell in her own words entire feature films or sequences of events.
Information on the Tate’s website says that “[her] personal transcriptions, which began in 1994 with the film Top Gun, highlight the way actual or imagined events are fictionalised and mythologised.”
Banner says that the aircraft represent the ‘opposite of language’, used when communication fails.
In this exhibition she ”explores the tension between the intellectual perception of the fighter plane and physical experience of the object by bringing body and machine into close proximity”.
Suspended from the ceiling of the Duveen Gallery at the Tate Britain, the Sea Harrier transforms machine into a ”captive bird, the markings tattooing its surface evoking its namesake; the Harrier Hawk”.
A Jaguar lies belly up on the floor, its posture, she says: “is suggestive of a submissive animal. Stripped and polished, its surface functions as a shifting mirror, exposing the audience to its own reactions. Harrier and Jaguar remain ambiguous objects implying both captured beast and fallen trophy”.
She recalls: ”Suddenly a fighter plane would rip through the sky, and shatter everything. It was so exciting, loud and overwhelming; it would literally take our breath away. The sound would arrive from nowhere, all you would see was a shadow and then the plane was gone.
“At the time harrier jump jets were at the cutting edge of technology but to me they were like dinosaurs, prehistoric, from a time before words.”
Aircraft profiles with information collated from Flightglobal and the rest of the web:
By Joel Foreman from Sutton Grammar School currently doing work experience with Flightglobal
Image credit © Fiona Banner, Photo: Tate p>