From ‘The Birth of Venus’ to art school classrooms across the globe, artists have, over time, employed life models in an attempt to capture the essence of the nude. As part of a project which took on various forms between 2006-2009, Performance Nude illustrates Banner's use of paint and line to portray her models; however, she renders them not in figurative gestures, but in words.
Straying further from traditional methods, she specifically uses ‘real’ women rather than practiced life models as her subject, choosing to capture the strain and tension created in the room by the presence of a novice. Whatever discomfort is revealed in the relationship is tested further by introducing an audience to the room and filming the scene for up to an hour. The effect is at times poetic, at others searching and critical. By portraying her nudes in this way, Banner questions the difference between looking and perceiving; the separation between experiencing something, and the language we use to understand it.
Fiona Banner was born in Merseyside, UK, in 1966 and gained her BA in Fine Art at Kingston Polytechnic 1n 1989 and her MA in Fine Art from Goldsmith’s College in 1993. Her work explores the possibilities and limitations of language in relation to art practice. In 2003 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.
Recent solo exhibitions include Arsenal, Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin, 2004; NUDE, Frith Street Gallery, London, 2006; 1301PE, Los Angeles, CA, 2006; All The World’s Fighter Planes, Printed Matter, New York, 2006 and The Bastard Word, Power Plant, Toronto, Canada, 2007. Recent group exhibitions include Summer Exhibition, Frith Street Gallery, London, 2006; This is not for You, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, 2006; Live/Work: Performance into Drawing, MOMA NYC, 2007; Body Politicx, Witte de With, Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2007; Global Feminisms, Brooklyn Museum, NY, 2007; Collection as Aleph Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Kunsthaus Graz, 2008; Armory Art Fair, Project with Tracy Williams Ltd, Fiona Banner & Matt Mullica, 2008 and That was then…this is Now, MOMA, New York, 2008.
The artist lives and works in London and is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London.