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Buoys BoysFiona Banner aka The Vanity Press

22 Medi - 10 Tachwedd 2018

Private View 6pm Friday 21 September 2018


Mission Gallery is proud to be presenting the work of Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press as part of the Now the Hero 14-18 | Now There’s More weekend in September 2018. Banner was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2002 and in 2010 presented Harrier and Jaguar at Tate Britain for the Duveen Galleries Commission.


British artist Fiona Banner often works under the moniker of The Vanity Press. She established the imprint in 1997, with her seminal book The Nam. Since then she has published many works, some in the form of books, some sculptural, some performance based. In 2009 she issued herself an ISBN number and registered herself as a publication under her own name. Humour, conflict and language are at the core of her work.

The film Buoys Boys depicts a series of massive full stop sculptures floating above the sea. The mammoth helium-filled inflatables take the form of full stops in five typefaces - Capitalist, Courier, Bookman, Didot, Onyx.

 “The full stops have the English Channel as backdrop. They are big black empty texts in one way, just floating buoys in another. There’s something beautiful but also dark about the Channel. Britain was invaded across this stretch of water in 1066, the same stretch that today is both a route of attempted refuge and the increasingly contentious divider between Britain and mainland Europe. The black abstract forms are markers within language but also markers within space and time, sometimes absurd, comical, or even surreal.”

Buoys Boys is set to a soundtrack based on the 1966 pop song Snoopy Vs The Red Baron. Banner has produced an on-going body of work related to these two characters and has returned to the song in a number of different live performances. The tracks here were recorded during the rehearsals for these performances: one with Viv Albertine (formerly of The Slits) who Banner collaborated with on a new musical arrangement of the song, at The Exquisite Corpse will Drink The Young Wine event curated by Banner at the Welsh Congregational Chapel in London (2012); the other with the Sir John Cass School Choir at the St Andrew by the Wardrobe Church in the City of London.

The Red Baron was the nickname given to ace of aces, Manfred Von Richthofen, a German World War One fighter pilot, infamous for the number of young men he killed in combat and for the delight he supposedly took in doing so. Largely thanks to wartime propaganda, Richthofen was legendary in his own lifetime and mythologised posthumously. Amidst a booming, paranoid post-war culture,

Snoopy regularly fantasised about meeting the Red Baron in combat; he not only wanted to kill him – he wanted to become him. At a time when public consciousness was still grappling with the effects of that century’s second global war, Charles M. Schultz presented a series of characters in the Peanuts cartoon who anthropomorphised this internal struggle and the communal failure to understand it. In 1966, shortly after The Red Baron first appeared in Schultz’s cartoon, The Royal Guardsmen rereleased the song Snoopy Vs The Red Baron. Snoopy’s owners sued the band over the use of his name. As a result sheet music was never published. As well as being a cartoon beagle and a fantastical fighter pilot Snoopy aspires to be a great novelist.




Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press 
Buoys Boys,

High definition digital film
16 minutes
Edition of 5 plus 1 AP

Soundtrack: Snoopy Vs The Red Baron
Part 1 Fiona Banner and Viv Albertine with Steve Beresford and James McArthur
Part 2 Sir John Cass Schoool Choir

Image credits:

Buoys Boys, 2016

Full Stop inflatables installation shot. From left to right Onyx, Bookman, Capitalist, Didot and Courier 



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