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The most comprehensive exhibition of the artist's work to date.

When Fiona Banner first exhibited ‘NAM’ in 1997 – a 1,000 page text in which she recounts six films based on the Vietnam War scene-by-scene – critics labelled it ‘unreadable’. In response, Banner staged a performance in which she read the book aloud in its entirety. Defiant, humorous, daring – this duo of works provides an apt opening to her latest exhibition in Birmingham.

‘Wordscapes’ are now a key part of the artist’s oeuvre; in 2002 she received a Turner-Prize nomination for a text-based piece in which she describes the plot of a pornographic film, while she has also applied this method to life drawing – observing a model and transcribing their pose into text. They form part of the artist’s ongoing exploration into the limits of language; as she told Nude Portrait in 2009, ‘sometimes it’s not enough, or it’s in the way, and obviously sometimes (in life and in art) it doesn’t work right as a tool for communication’.

Similar themes informed the Full Stop sculptures, in which Banner contemplates the implications of punctuation signs. For this show she punctuates the gallery space with examples in different fonts which have been blown up to human proportions.

Ikon Gallery

1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, West Midlands, B1 2HS

0121 248 0708


Opening times

Tue – Sun and Bank Holiday Mon, 11am – 5pm

Free to all

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Valid to 31 December 2020

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