Fiona Banner

Superhuman Nude

2011

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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Fiona Banner born 1966
Medium
Digital print on paper
Dimensions
Image: 760 x 600 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 2012
Reference
P13279

Summary

This work is part of a portfolio of twelve prints by British artists that was commissioned by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to commemorate the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The contributing artists were Fiona Banner, Michael Craig-Martin, Martin Creed, Tracey Emin, Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris, Chris Ofili, Bridget Riley, Bob and Roberta Smith and Rachel Whiteread. Creed, Hamilton, Hodgkin, Ofili, Riley and Whiteread were invited to create images for the Olympic Games while Banner, Craig-Martin, Emin, Hume, Morris and Smith created images for the Paralympic Games. The portfolio was produced in an edition of 150.

Fiona Banner creates nude studies from life, by transcribing physical scenarios into verbal descriptions. These ‘wordscapes’ define the shapes and forms of the body as well as fleeting moments such as the tension in a second of shared eye contact, or a nervous finger tapping. Banner’s print Superhuman Nude is taken from a nude study of a Paralympic athlete wearing a prosthetic leg. The title alludes to the extraordinary physicality of this body. She focuses on strength and physicality but also on the fragility of a human awaiting competition. Banner has commented, ‘I liked the idea of comparing the athlete to a superhero, with some extraordinary prosthetic gift. Looking at an athlete naked made them powerful and vulnerable at once.’ (Quoted in Cundy 2011, accessed 17 July 2018.)

Further reading
Jody Cundy, ‘Official London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Posters Unveiled’, 6 November 2011, http://www.jodycundy.co.uk/official-london-2012-olympic-and-paralympic-posters-unveiled/, accessed 17 July 2018.
Julia Beaumont-Jones, A Century of Prints in Britain, London 2017, pp.33–4, reproduced p.222.

Leyla Fakhr
November 2011

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