Fiona Banner is fascinating, or at least I believe so. Working within similar realms as Miranda July and Jenny Holzer, within the scope of artworks and text, Banner creates works that are multilayered. Buoys Boys is an exhibition of the latest offerings from Banner and features amongst other new works, The Vanity Press.
The Vanity Press has been a large part of Banner's practice since the late 90's and is a channel for Banner to explore what self-publishing can be. At the heart of it, The Vanity Press questions how ideas are represented and distributed, and explores how far we can push what would be considered 'art'. As part of The Vanity Press, Banner has 'published' a pair of trousers, issued with an ISBN number. Although there are obvious questions of if this can be classed as art or not, it asks us to look at the effects of branding, of a narrative being imbued into an object. If art holds up a mirror, if art imitates life, then this is a tongue in cheek look at the notion of not just copyright but portraits and how we present and publish ourselves.
Much of the show is dedicated to Banner's on-going investigations into type and fonts. Banner shows a dedication and obsession that is common to many in the arts and demonstrates to the viewer that at first look things are not always as they seem. Full stops are enlarged from a variety of fonts, their shapes cut from reductive vinyl that covers the windows; literally and figuratively they punctuate the space, their extra-large size showing evidence that what may appear as a standard across all fonts actually has many differences, To view the outside scenery through these apertures on the gallery window is a full stop in more ways than one.
I image Banner's work to be of interest from some designers, her intense look at fonts demonstrates an attention to detail that I could never replicate.
Parts of the exhibition, such as Snoopy vs The Red Baron are throwbacks to some of the artists earlier works and provide a doorway for viewers to explore the full depth of Banner's art practice. The show takes it's name from the new performance and film by Banner, Buoys Boys comprises of full stop sculptures created from inflatable filled with helium. I was far more impressed with these sculptures taking up space in the gallery than I was when they were installed on the roof, flying in the wind. But that is my own preference, it is humbling to stand next to a sculpture that is bigger than I will ever be. They are a visible representation of language and how we are able to use it in life, and the idiosyncrasies that punctuate our daily activities.
Buoys Boys is on until 8th January at the De La Warr Pavilion and is part of ROOT1066