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Fiona Banner: Wp Wp Wp

Longside Gallery and Open Air
Past
20 Sep 2014–4 Jan 2015

‘this is not an exhibition to be missed’

Rooms Magazine

Yorkshire Sculpture Park presented Wp Wp Wp, an exhibition by UK artist Fiona Banner featuring an ambitious new project, Chinook, and related work. The onomatopoeic title of the exhibition mimics the sound of helicopter blades in action, as commonly used in movie storyboards and comics.

Highlighting the absence of a helicopter’s body, Chinook is formed from two sets of helicopter blades – suspended from the ceiling of YSP’s Longside Gallery – rotating in opposition to one another at various speeds. Carefully choreographed to overlap, the blades give the sensation that they might collide, an effect that is both mesmerising and unnerving.

Banner has long been fascinated by military aircraft, finding them at once beautiful and horrifying; almost ‘prehistoric, from a time before words'. This relationship to language underpins Banner’s sculptural work. For her, the ever rotating criss-cross of the blades as they mark out time and space is like a language trying to happen or a text trying to be formulated, 'It’s like they are trying to spell out something that can’t be said.'

Chinook has been developed with the support of Dr Osvaldo Querin, Associate Professor at The University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering, who with colleagues and a group of masters students, worked with Banner to carry out aeronautical research critical to the project.
 

The origins of this work could be traced to Banner’s 1997 work THE NAM, 1,000 pages of continuous text, fully describing six Hollywood Vietnam movies. The Chinook helicopter, though still in constant use today, is iconically linked with the Vietnam war and, like THE NAM, becomes a way of observing the mythology surrounding conflict.

Related works also reveal Banner’s consideration of film and text, including site-specific work, Ha-ha, 2014, which spans the huge windows of the gallery giving an unreal sense of the landscape beyond; Tête à Tête, 2014, a film in which two mechanically operated windsocks become the main protagonists in a bonnet drama, set in the grounds around Longside Gallery; and Mirror, Banner’s 2007 film in which actress Samantha Morton reads, for the first time, the artist’s nude portrait of her, rendered in word not image.

‘Certainly encountering this most kinetic of works arouses extreme responses ranging from terrified, unnerved or exhilarated, depending on your point of view’

The Telegraph Luxury

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