Creatures of Power and Intrigue, Artist Spotlight: Fiona Banner

Awesome, thought provoking, incredible, beautiful…  just some of the words that passed through my mind when I first saw this installation by Fiona Banner in the Tate Britain Modern Art Museum.  For obvious reasons, I’m a big fan of air craft and flight (could have something to do with my super awesome Air Force husband)  These amazing machines take on so much life and meaning and my mind instantly creates stories behind their existence.  Fiona began her life long interest in airplanes as a little girl, living in the quiet still hills of Great Britain, when one day a plane crashed through the sky in flight, disturbing all the peace and tranquility with it’s tornado like roar.

I love how the Harrier takes on a birdlike form with the distressed feather pattern on the wings.  It seems to be so powerful, yet caged and captive.    The Jaguar (the smaller jet) is laying on it’s back, looking very much like a wounded creature.  It is so shiny and polished so as to reflect the viewer in it’s form.

If you want to learn more about this project there is a great video about the evolution of this exhibition with narration and insight by Fiona.  I’ve watched it three times already,if that tells you anything!  I’m so intrigued with this project.

What would be your first thought if you walked into a museum and were met with a huge air plane nose to nose with the ground?  Unsettling?


  • Heh, I hear you on being a fan of aircraft — my dad was in the Air Force. I pretty much grew up at airshows. First thought on seeing this? Wow. Striking. Impactful. Seeing a fighter plane like that nose to the ground wouldn’t bother me. They do that a lot… Seeing an airliner nose to ground — now that would bother me! I love art like this! Art that takes something common-place (if you can really call jet fighters “common-place”) and puts it into a museum/art context to show us its beauty that we’ve missed… If I may, I’d like to refer you to my post on artist Daniel Wurtzel: He takes the very common-place and shows us its incredible beauty.


    • While I’ve only been to a couple of real air shows, I completely understand what you mean. Seeing an airliner nose to the ground sends a whole different (much darker, scarier) message than a fighter plane with a skilled pilot. As it is, it’s stunning, a thought provoking, and beautiful.
      Thanks for the referral! I’ll check it out!


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