Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press

Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press

b. 1966, Merseyside, England

Much of Banner’s work explores the problems and possibilities of written language. Her early work took the form of ‘wordscapes’ or ‘still films’ – blow-by-blow accounts written in her own words of feature films, (whose subjects range from war to porn) or sequences of events. These pieces took the form of solid single blocks of text, often the same shape and size as a cinema screen. She later turned her attention to the idea of the classic, art-historical nude, observing a life model and transcribing the pose and form in a similar vein to her earlier transcription of films. Often using parts of military aircraft as the support for these descriptions, Banner juxtaposes the brutal and the sensual, performing an almost complete cycle of intimacy and alienation. With an interest in how historical events become fictionalised over time and how conflict is mythologised through popular culture, the constant power struggle between words and their meaning is central to Banner’s conceptual approach that examines conflict, language and its limitations. Whilst her current work encompasses sculpture, drawing and installation, text is still at the heart of Banner's practice. In 1997 she started her own publishing imprint The Vanity Press, which has been the backbone of her work ever since. Banner toys with the snobbery inherent in the title by publishing posters, books, objects and performances that deploy a playful attitude and utilise pseudo grandeur.

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Coffee Table Book

Coffee Table Book, 2016

Birch ply, paint. 90 x 74 x 35 cm