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Naked Witch: An Autobiography

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The sculpture is cast from the rendered aluminium fuselage of a Tornado jet fighter – one of the most effective military aircraft of the past 30 years and aptly named after a destructive force of nature. These personal transcriptions explore the ways in which actual or imagined events are fictionalised and mythologised. In this iconic image, we witness the fearless Fiona Richmond, renowned actress and symbol of liberation, fearlessly horse riding through London's bustling West End.

For the past few years Banner has been producing one-off publications as part of a series about the way ideas are represented and circulated. With both approaches Banner transcribes the object of her looking in a manner which in part resembles the processes that would be used for traditional figurative drawing, but with an end result in written rather than pictorial form.Now as a very grounded, yet slightly implausible tower, the books have been transformed, through the simplest of means, from a library, list and collection into a piece of sculpture. She has also said: ‘The performances expose these layers of voyeurism – my voyeurism looking at the model, and the audience’s voyeurism looking at me making the art, and looking at the model.

Fiona Banner creates nude studies from life, transcribing physical scenarios into verbal descriptions. Banner is interested in the tradition of the nude and the issues that surround its depiction, such as questions about gender and the history of description per se.is a four metre stack of Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft books, the iconic compendium for the aeronautical industry. Preserved by King Tom's lens, this print transports us back to a time when famous people like Fiona Richmond dared to challenge societal expectations with their unapologetic authenticity.

These absurdist fantasies represent an endlessly deferred future and reveals a complex relationship with the contents of the annual compendium to which Jane later dedicated his life. Spilt Nude 2007 is a large black and white written record of the image of a female nude as described in the artist’s own words. Tracing the history of Britain’s military investment back to the fear of invasion, her epic wall drawing 1066 describes in words this decisive battle of England’s last invasion. Since then, working with models and co-performers Marianne Hyatt, Ame Henderson and Samantha Morton, she has made a combination of works in the privacy of the studio and with observers. All publications registered with an ISBN must be deposited in the Legal Deposit Office of The British Library, yet the singularity of Banner’s project makes this impossible.

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Quoted in ‘Art Stripped Bare – Fiona Banner on the Nude’, The Guardian Online, Wednesday 8 April 2009, accessed 27 May 2012. The first nude performance, at the Port Eliot Literacy Festival in 2006, was an experiment in front of an audience between the model and the artist. In response to requests from the Legal Deposit Office The Vanity Press produced a comprehensive bound catalogue of the ISBN artworks and the data information forms used to register them. But then the very way we look at all art, the way we treat artworks, the way we present them, is itself erotic.

From her ‘wordscapes’ to her use of found and transformed military aircraft, Banner juxtaposes the brutal and the sensual, performing a complete cycle of intimacy, attraction and alienation.It also refers to the elusive nature of description, the limiting as well as the communicating force of language and Banner’s interest in the harnessing of uncontained forces that spill out.

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