Fiona Banner

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Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press
Born1966 (age 56–57)
EducationKingston University and Goldsmiths College
MovementYoung British Artists
SpouseNick Rosen

Fiona Banner (born 1966), also known as The Vanity Press is a British artist. Her work encompasses sculpture, drawing, installation and text, and demonstrates a long-standing fascination with the emblem of fighter aircraft and their role within culture and especially as presented on film. She is well known for her early works in the form of 'wordscapes', written transcriptions of the frame-by-frame action in Hollywood war films, including Top Gun and Apocalypse Now. Her work has been exhibited in prominent international venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York and Hayward Gallery, London.[1][better source needed] Banner was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2002.


2010 Tate Britain exhibition of an RAF Jaguar installed by Banner.

Fiona Banner was born on Merseyside, North West England in 1966.[2] She studied at Kingston University and completed her MA at Goldsmiths College of Art in 1993. The next year she held her first solo exhibition at City Racing.[3] Since graduating from Goldsmiths College of Art, Banner has continued to evolve an important, considered and interrelated practice, rooted in language. Publishing, in the broadest sense, is central to her practice.

In 1995, she was included in General Release: Young British Artists held at the XLVI Venice Biennale.[3]

Since 1994 Banner has created handwritten and printed texts - 'wordscapes' - that retell in her own words entire feature films, including Point Break (1991) and The Desert (1994), or particular scenarios in detail. Her work took the form of solid single blocks of text, often the same shape and size as a cinema screen. She also investigates the formal components of written language, giving significance to the symbols that punctuate sentences.[4]

In 1997, when she published THE NAM, she started working under the imprint of The Vanity Press, and has since published an extensive archive of books, objects and performances, many questioning the notion of authorship and copyright. For Banner, the act of publishing is itself a performative one. Consequently, her work resits traditional notions of grandeur and exclusivity, instead deploying a pseudo formality that is playful and provocative.[1] THE NAM is a 1,000-page book which describes the plots of six Vietnam films in their entirety: the films are Apocalypse Now, Born on the Fourth of July, The Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket, Hamburger Hill and Platoon.

Following her shows at the Neuer Aachener Kunstverein [de], and Dundee Contemporary Arts, Banner was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2002.

Since early 2000, Banner has been working with pornographic film as a basis for an exploration of our obsession with sex, and the extreme limits of written communication. In large, densely filled works she transcribe the varied sexual activities taking place in Asswoman in Wonderland, starring Tiffany Minx, who also directed this X-rated version of Alice's fictional adventures. Banner's own Arsewoman in Wonderland (2001), presented in the Turner Prize exhibition, is a 4 x 6 m printed description of the film pasted and layered sheet after sheet onto the wall like and overladen billboard. 'I wanted to make some work about sex but I couldn't describe it. I was too close to it and I did not have the words that close to hand. I looked again at ports as a way of investigating my own taboo. Just as with the war films I enjoyed it but found it hard to grasp; it was intimate yet distant, seductive yet sometimes repulsive. My response to the film was very emotional.' [4] The Guardian asked, "It's art. But is it porn?" calling in "Britain's biggest porn star", Ben Dover, to comment.[5] The prize was won that year by Lancastrian artist Keith Tyson.

In 2009 she issued herself an International Standard Book Number and registered herself as a publication under her own name.

In 2010, she was selected to create the 10th Duveen Hall commission at Tate Britain[6] for which she transformed and displayed two decommissioned Royal Air Force fighter jets.

On 1 October 2010, in an open letter to the British government's culture secretary Jeremy Hunt—co-signed by a further 27 previous Turner prize nominees, and 19 winners—Banner opposed any future cuts in public funding for the arts. In the letter the cosignatories described the arts in Britain as a "remarkable and fertile landscape of culture and creativity."[7]

Banner’s work includes sculpture, drawing and installation; text is the core of her oeuvre. She is one of the "key names",[8] along with Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gary Hume, Sam Taylor-Wood, Tacita Dean and Douglas Gordon,[8] of the Young British Artists.[9][10][11][12]

Other works[edit]

- Onyx, Bookman, Courier 2018 Full stop inflatables (Installation Breeder, Athens)

- SS19 The Walk (and Buoys Boys) 2018 High definition digital film (Installation Breeder, Athens)

- SS19 The Walk 2018 Performed at DRAFx: An Evening of Performances (o2 Kentish Town Forum, London)

- Buoys Boys 2016, Full Stop inflatables, Sculptural performance (De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-sea)

- Buoys Boys 2016, High definition digital film

- STAMP OUT PHOTOGRAPHIE 2014 (V-A-C collection Whitechapel Gallery, London)

- 1066 2012 Wall projection (Turner Contemporary, England)

- The Exquisite Corpse Will Drink the Young Wine 2012 Musical Performance / Screening (The Welsh Congregational Chapel, Borough, London)

- Performance Nude 2010 Performance with David Salas (Claire de Rouen / Other Criteria Book Launch, London)

- Mirror 2007 Performance with Samantha Morton (Whitechapel Gallery, London)



- Pushing Back The Edge Of The Envelope, City Racing, London


- Viewing Room, Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York


- The Nam - 1000 page all text flick book, London

- Only the Lonely, Frith Street Gallery, London


- Art Now, Tate Britain, London

- LOVE DOUBLE, Barbara Thumm Gallery, Berlin[13]


- Statements, Basel Art Fair

- ASTERISK, Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen

- Don't Look Back, Brooke Alexander, New York

- THE NAM and Related Material, Printed Matter, New York

- STOP, Frith Street Gallery, London


-Soixante-Neuf, Charles H Scott Gallery, Emily Carr Institute, Vancouver


- ARSEWOMAN, Murray Guy, New York

- ARSEWOMAN, Barbara Thumm Gallery, Berlin[14]

- Rainbow, 24/7, Hayward Gallery, London


- My Plinth is Your Lap, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen

- My Plinth is Your Lap, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee


- Fiona Banner, 1301PE, Los Angeles, CA


- Arsenal, Barbara Thumm Gallery, Berlin

- Arsewoman in Wonderland, Barbara Thumm Gallery, Berlin


- Peace On Earth, Tate Britain, London  

- Every Word Unmade, Barbara Thumm Gallery, Berlin

- The Bastard Word, Power Plant, Toronto


- The Naked Ear, Frith Street Gallery, London

- Harrier and Jaguar, Tate Britain Duveens Commission 2010, Tate Britain, London

- Tornado, Co-commission by Locus+ and Great North Run Culture, 2010, Newcastle

- All the World's Fighter Planes, Musée d'art de Joliette, Québec


- Snoopy Vs The Red Baron, Barbara Thumm Gallery, Berlin[15]


- Unboxing, The Greatest Film Never Made, 1301PE, Los Angeles


- The Vanity Press, Summerhall, Edinburgh (Catalogue)


- Wp Wp Wp, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield

- Mistah Kurtz, He Not Dead, PEER, London


- Scroll Down And Keep Scrolling, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK

- FONT, Frith Street Gallery, London


- Au Cœur des Ténèbres, mfc-Michele Didier, Paris, France

- Buoys Boys, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, UK

- Fiona Banner, Barbara Thumm Gallery, Berlin[16]

- Scroll Down And Keep Scrolling, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Germany

- Fiona Banner, 1301PE, Los Angeles

- Study #13. Every Word Unmade, Fiona Banner, David Roberts Art Foundation, London


- Runway AW17, De Pont Museum, Tilburg, Netherlands


- Buoys Boys, Mission Gallery, Swansea, Wales


- Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press, Libby Leshgold Gallery, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada

- Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press, Independent Art Fair, Barbara Thumm Gallery, New York, USA

- Full Sea Stop Scape, Barbara Thumm Gallery, Berlin, Germany[17]


- PERIOD, Museum Voorlinden, Netherlands


- Pranayama Typhoon, Barakat Contemporary, Seoul, Korea


  1. ^ a b Banner, Fiona. Fiona Banner : Wp Wp Wp. Yorkshire Sculpture Park. West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire. ISBN 9781907631559. OCLC 894638533.
  2. ^ Great Women Artists. Phaidon Press. 2019. p. 45. ISBN 978-0714878775.
  3. ^ a b Stonard, John-Paul. "Fiona Banner", Tate from text of Grove Art Online, 10 December 2000. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  4. ^ a b Turner Prize 2002 : an exhibition of work by the shortlisted artists, 30 October 2002-5 January 2003 at Tate Britain. Tate Britain (Gallery). London: Tate Pub. 2002. ISBN 1854374656. OCLC 51297728.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Brockes, Emma "It's art. But is it porn?", The Guardian online, 5 November 2002. Retrieved 21 May 2007.
  6. ^ [1] Art Review magazine, January 2010
  7. ^ Peter Walker, "Turner prize winners lead protest against arts cutbacks," The Guardian, 1 October 2010.
  8. ^ a b Grant, Simon. "Cultural propganda?"[sic] Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Apollo, 27 March 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  9. ^ "Fiona Banner born 1966", Tate. Retrieved 13 June 2010. Archived at WebCite.
  10. ^ Darwent, Charles. "The painted word", New Statesman, 12 February 1999. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  11. ^ Johnson, Ken. "Art in review; Fiona Banner, The New York Times, 26 March 1999. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  12. ^ Gleadell, Colin. Market news: the bronze age", The Daily Telegraph, 3 November 2003. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  13. ^ "Galerie Barbara Thumm \ Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press- Love Double – 1998". Galerie Barbara Thumm. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  14. ^ "Galerie Barbara Thumm \ Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press – Arsewoman in Wonderland". Galerie Barbara Thumm. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  15. ^ "Galerie Barbara Thumm \ Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press – Snoopy vs The Red Baron". Galerie Barbara Thumm. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  16. ^ "Galerie Barbara Thumm \ Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press". Galerie Barbara Thumm. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  17. ^ "Galerie Barbara Thumm \ Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press – Full Sea Stop Scape". Galerie Barbara Thumm. Retrieved 23 February 2022.

External links[edit]