First and Second Floor Galleries and Tower Room
Please note the Tower Room is only accessible via a number of steps
Scroll Down And Keep Scrolling is the most comprehensive exhibition to date of work by British artist Fiona Banner. Ikon represents key early projects alongside recent and unseen works that span a period of 25 years.
Banner came to prominence in the 1990s with her wordscapes, written transcriptions of iconic films retold in her own words. THE NAM (1997) is a 1,000 page book that details, scene-by-scene, six Vietnam War films — including Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now — in such a way that they blur into each other. The outcome is, in the artist’s words, the literary equivalent of a “gutting 11 hour supermovie”.
In a recent collaboration with the Archive of Modern Conflict, Banner commissioned a Magnum photographer to take pictures of London’s financial district as if it was a war zone. The resulting work uses Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness as a filter through which to read the tribal behaviour of those in the business of finance, an environment of weary survivalism combining competitive trading floors, corporate art collections, manic drinking cultures, luxury shopping and strip clubs. Ikon shows a related series of large-scale graphite drawings entitled Mistah Kurtz — He Not Dead (2015), depicting magnified details of pinstripe, the iconic costume and camouflage of trade in the City.
Recently completed films mark a new trajectory in Banner’s practice. Chinook (2013) focuses on the absurdist spectacle of UK military air shows in which a Chinook helicopter performs an aerial ballet, carefully choreographed to push the craft to its limit for the purpose of display.
Punctuating the gallery are various Full Stop (2015) sculptures: full stops in different fonts, blown up to human proportions. Previously incarnated in bronze, here they are presented as bean bags and within the exhibition provide a moment to sit, to pause for thought. Banner’s tactile approach to material is evident too in Work 3 (2014), a lifesized glass scaffold tower which stands tall in Ikon’s vaulted space, its fragility undermining any possibility of usefulness.
Publishing is central to Banner’s practice and she often produces books through her own imprint, The Vanity Press. For the artist the act of publishing is itself performative and Ikon’s exhibition includes a wide archive of previously unseen publications and ephemera. To accompany Scroll Down And Keep Scrolling Banner has published a major new book, priced £30, special exhibition price £25, which matches THE NAM in scale and focuses on related material from her personal archive, compiled over the last 25 years. She has also designed her own typeface for the first time, used across Ikon print and signage for the duration of her exhibition. Font is an amalgamation of typefaces the artist has worked with previously, and can be downloaded here, free of charge. Font also appears at Banner’s exhibition at Frith Street Gallery, London (18 September – 31 October 2015).
In addition Ikon Shop stocks Fiona Banner’s limited editions, produced by The Multiple Store.Download font