Wednesday, 10 September 2014



Break Point is a wordscape running across a canvas large enough to remind you of a cinema screen. The text describes a single chase sequence from Kathryn Bigelow’s cult film Point Break (1991), and the artist's own words are slotted into scraps of dialogue from the film. The advertisement for the film said it was '100% pure adrenalin’.
Fiona Banner wittily transforms a nail-biting and seemingly endless chase into a startling landscape of words.  The words themselves tumble across the canvas. As the distance in the film between pursuer and pursued closes, the chase hots up and the space between the letters and lines contract and converge until they slide down the canvas. Large mute punctuation marks interrupt  your flow of thought. Eventually everything piles up at the bottom of the canvas in an illegible wreckage of letters and words colliding with each other in a field of red ink. But significantly, in the film the chase does not reach completion - when the pursuer finally catches his human quarry, he lets him escape.

 Who is the 'you' being addressed? Are the words aimed at everyone or someone or no one in particular?  Whose voice is speaking?  Is the chase a metaphor for the way we rush to stitch together words and events, however imperfectly, until they mean something? Are we aware of how we receive this barrage of words and how it seethes inside our internal monologue? 
Or is this abstract sculpture literally beyond words? Is Break PoInt a quiet amusing minimalist sculpture - or a noisy one? Or are we the sculptors as we scrape the words and spaces off the canvas to make of them what we will?

(Images: Matt Browncc-3.0; bixentro, cc-3.0)
I featured Fiona Banner's work  Harrier and Jaguar in my first  blog four years ago:
 'Hanging by its tail from the ceiling and nearly touching the floor, is a huge decommissioned fighter jet, its contents emptied out. It’s a Sea Harrier, 14 metres long with a wing span of 7.6 metres, the kind of plane which saw action in Bosnia and the Gulf. Now it’s a captive beast with feathery markings tattooing its grey surface. It reminds me of dead birds which used to hang in rows outside butchers’ shops at Christmas...down at the other end I see the outline of a Jaguar jet, lying belly up on the floor, like a submissive animal. Stripped and polished into an immaculate metallic shine, its surface is transformed into shifting distorting mirrors, Small screws run up and down the fuselage like a row of ants. I walk round this huge pregnant belly with its outstretched wings'. (Blog 1 Harrier and Jaguar, Tate Britain. Duveen Gallery) 

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