Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press

Darkness Stacks2016

Please visit our new exhibition Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press which will be on from June 27 - August 25, 2019.


Jun 27, 2019, 12:00PM – Aug 25, 2019, 5:00PM

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Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press
June 27-August 25, 2019

The Libby Leshgold Gallery and READ Books are pleased to present Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press.

Please note: The exhibition will be open at noon on June 27, however a talk by Fiona Banner and Kathy Slade will be held on July 12 at 6PM followed by a reception in the gallery.

Fiona Banner’s alias “The Vanity Press” stems from The Vanity Press, an imprint she established in 1997 with the publication of her artist book The Nam. Since then her work with publishing—straightforward as well as experimental and performative publishing—has become the mainstay of her practice, and is highly influential in the field of artists’ publishing.

This exhibition focuses on Banner’s Heart of Darkness, published in 2015 by the Vanity Press in collaboration with Four Corners Press. Banner’s remake of Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella takes the form of a glossy luxury magazine. It began to take shape when she accepted an invitation by the Archive of Modern Conflict to conduct research in the archive. Noting a lack of contemporary images, Banner commissioned Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin, who is well known for covering global conflicts, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo where Conrad’s narrator Marlow sets his story, to turn his lens on the financial district of London. These images form the illustrations that accompany the text. Alongside the publication itself, the exhibition includes related work such as Breathing Bag (2016), a small kinetic sculpture made up of a plastic bag printed with a misquote from the novella that reads “Mistah Kurtz—He Not Dead” and the film Phantom (2015) in which a drone Phantom camera attempts to read Heart of Darkness as the down draft from its blades continually blows the magazine out of reach, eventually destroying it.

Further, the exhibition reflects on earlier works such as The Nam and Trance (1997), including Banner’s verbal remake of Apocalypse Now, which in turn translates Francis Ford Coppola’s redeployment of Conrad’s narrative framework from Heart of Darkness. Other works on display include a selection of Full Stop Inflatables (2018) and Full Stop Bean Bags (2015), which take the form of massive 3D period marks from various fonts. Also featured are the artists’ books Scroll Down and Keep Scrolling (2015), Font Book (2016), and select artworks related to them. This press release is set in Font, a typeface designed by Banner, it is an interpolation of all the fonts she has ever worked with.

Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press is an English artist, who lives and works in London. In 2002 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize and in 2010, she was selected to create the 10th Duveen Hall commission at Tate Britain. Other recent exhibitions include: Runway AW17, De Pont Museum, Tilburg, Netherlands (2017), Buoys Boys, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, UK (2016), Scroll Down And Keep Scrolling, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2015) and Kunsthalle Nuremberg, Germany (2016), Wp Wp Wp, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2014).

We invite you to join us on Friday, July 12th for a conversation between Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press and Kathy Slade, the exhibition’s curator. This presentation will open the conference At Least Five Difficulties: A Symposium on Artists’ Publishing, a three-day symposium focused on the real and potential role of artists’ books, zines, and democratic multiples as a social agent in communities at large, and as a force for change within the art world. A reception in honour of the exhibition and symposium will follow in the Libby Leshgold Gallery.

Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press is presented in conjunction with the second installment of The Summer School for Artists’ Publishing. The Summer School expands on READ Books’ mission to create a platform and social space for experimental practices in publication by bringing leading local and international artists and practitioners together to present exhibitions, seminars, and public events.

READ is an ongoing public program of the Libby Leshgold Gallery. It is a social space for the fostering, cultivation, and promotion of publication as an artistic practice and aims to further the discourse around and support the production of contemporary art and design. READ also serves as the bookstore for Emily Carr University and the wider community.

The Libby Leshgold Gallery respectfully acknowledges that we are located on the unceded, traditional and ancestral xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.

The Libby Leshgold Gallery is grateful for the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and presenting sponsor RBC Wealth Management.

Libby Leshgold Gallery (formerly the Charles H. Scott Gallery)

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

520 East 1st Avenue. Vancouver, BC V5T 0H2


Hours: 12-5 daily