The unusual name of this new exhibition by UK artist Fiona Banner is inspired by the sound of helicopters as portrayed in comic books and storyboards. Wp Wp Wp is an onomatopoeically named collection of works that Banner began almost two years ago. A highlight of the show is her ambitious new project Chinook. Formed from two sets of helicopter blades suspended from the ceiling of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Longside Gallery, Chinook emphasises the absence of the helicopter’s body. Careful choreography rotates the blades in opposition to one another above visitor’s heads as though preparing for lift-off, overlapping and suggesting collison.
This visual contradiction mirrors the dilemma at the heart of the public’s relationship with the military and its extraordinary tools. The Chinook helicopter is an engineering phenomenon and Banner developed Chinook with the assistance of Dr Osvaldo Querin, Associate Professor at The University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering.
Other related works on display at the exhibition reveal Banner’s consideration of film, text and the mythologies of conflict. These include site-specific work spanning the huge windows of the gallery that gives an unreal sense of the landscape beyond, as well as two films. In Mirror (2007) actress Samantha Morton reads the artist’s nude portrait of her, rendered in word not image. Alongside this film sits the earlier All the World’s Fighter Planes (2005/6), which animates newspaper clippings of all of the aircraft in commission around the world at that time, set to a score of music taken from classic war films.
Fiona Banner: Wp Wp Wp, 20 September – 4 January, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, WF4 4LG, www.ysp.co.uk.
1. Helicopter (detail), 1997. Pencil on paper 100cm x 130cm © and courtesy the artist Image 3 of 3
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