Johanna Caplliure on Fiona Banner: Runway (AW17)
“Runway (AW17)”, by Fiona Banner (install shot). Image by Johanna Caplliure
26 June 2017
by Johanna Caplliure
Curator in Residence
De Pont Tilburg
29.04 – 27.08.
Blog – Exhibition review
Rotor blades in an industrial architecture, catwalk without models, words written on the surface of plane parts. A magnificent and apocalyptic mise en scène shows us the uncertainty of a new world. Fragments of a destroyed aircraft are a reminder of parts of the human body ruined by existence. Excerpts referring to messages of salvation, love, sex or just a letter are written on the surfaces of each plane and helicopter structure, which not only compose a memory but also a script for this theatre drama.
Celebrated for being one of the most interesting artists from the Young British Artists (YBA) and winner of the Turner Prize in 2012, Fionna Banner exhibits her latest works at De Pont Museum in Tilburg. Under the title Runway (AW17), the English artist presents her most important exhibition in the Netherlands. Out of control, desert or escape. All the directions of Runway (AW17) have the same exit: destruction. De Pont’s main gallery is occupied by industrial scenography. One long erected catwalk waits for impossible models or actors; the aircraft fragments can never be live subjects in this absurd drama. Possibly, it’s the runway for flight number AW17 or, perhaps the launch of this summer´s collection
(Autumn – Winter 2017). The two meanings for runway: the catwalk and the aircraft runway, both have the controversial signification to take off or to land. To start or to end – we never know. As principal characters of this drama, the propellers re-signify the potential of the actor. A static movement which cannot be deserted. One helix introduces us to a catastrophic world where several fragments of ailerons, others blades, horizontal stabilizers, wings pieces are part of this strange staging. A collection of objects, which are at the same time a theatre set.
Fascinated by the aircraft, Banner presents the beautiful and horrific nature of these war machines. Within this controversial relationship between the materials, she collects and shows parts of a Gazelle helicopter, the French Army’s Light Aviation, which were included in numerous conflicts around the world. On the other hand, the Jaguar drop tanks indicate that war is never-ending. Eventually, they are accompanied with graphite drawings concerning the holes or modified parts of the planes. The texts written on drone ailerons and wings evoke the problems between dialectics in language – between what we are saying or how are writing.
Finally, Runway (AW17) is complimented by previous works like Phantom (SS16) (2016), THE NAM Room (1997-2015), Breathing Bag (2015) and ISBN (2009-). One advertisement is in the air, all the characters, actions, names and places are part of the imagination of the author.