Highlighting the absence of a helicopter’s body, Chinook
is formed from two sets of helicopter blades – suspended from the ceiling of YSP’s Longside Gallery – rotating in opposition to one another at various speeds. Carefully choreographed to overlap, the blades give the sensation that they might collide, an effect that is both mesmerising and unnerving.
Banner has long been fascinated by military aircraft, finding them at once beautiful and horrifying; almost ‘prehistoric, from a time before words'
. This relationship to language underpins Banner’s sculptural work. For her, the ever rotating criss-cross of the blades as they mark out time and space is like a language trying to happen or a text trying to be formulated, 'It’s like they are trying to spell out something that can’t be said.'
The origins of this work could be traced to Banner’s 1997 work THE NAM
, 1,000 pages of continuous text, fully describing six Hollywood Vietnam movies. The Chinook helicopter, though still in constant use today, is iconically linked with the Vietnam war and, like THE NAM
, becomes a way of observing the mythology surrounding conflict.
Related works also reveal Banner’s consideration of film and text, including site-specific work, Ha-ha
, 2014, which spans the huge windows of the gallery giving an unreal sense of the landscape beyond; Tête à Tête
, 2014, a film in which two mechanically operated windsocks become the main protagonists in a bonnet drama, set in the grounds around Longside Gallery; and Mirror
, Banner’s 2007 film in which actress Samantha Morton reads, for the first time, the artist’s nude portrait of her, rendered in word not image.
A special publication, designed by the artist with text by Chrissie Iles, Curator at the Whitney Museum of Art, New York, accompanies the exhibition.
has been developed with the support of Dr Osvaldo Querin, Associate Professor at The University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering, who with colleagues and a group of masters students, worked with Banner to carry out aeronautical research critical to the project.
Watch a short film about the exhibition