Fiona Banner: The Naked Ear, Frith Street Gallery, London

3.00

Fiona Banner's current installation in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain, Harrier and Jaguar (2010), sees two fighter planes dominating one of the grand spaces of the museum. It's an uncomfortable triple sublime: force x power x impressive aesthetics, but oddly underwhelming as art. Elsewhere in London, at Frith Street Gallery, is a literal echo of that installation. An enormous bell greets you at the gallery, hung low from supports in the ceiling. The sculpture is ominously named Tornado (2010) has been cast from the melted-down fuselage of a Tornado jet fighter – a deadly efficient machine of war. For whom does this bell toll? The idea of a deep, sonorous bell ring rings with signification: the passing of time, births, deaths and marriages. A large single bell like this, however, given its name and its history, is more likely to bring to mind mourning, warning and doom. The death-knell. How many times did this particular plane bring about death and destruction? Nearby is a stack of every copy of Jane's All the World's Aircraft, from 1909-2010. A heap of language that describes only destructive capability and armature, freed from the bloodshed, the conflict and the history of the wars for which such impressive machines are made.

The exhibition is dragged down somewhat by Banner's ISBN works downstairs – unique text pieces that play on the idea that everything with an ISBN number must put a copy in the British Library. Not so, if the number is carved only once on a gravestone, you see? The standout work of the exhibition, however, is, 1066, the latest in the artist's series of "wordscapes", in which she writes highly detailed descriptions of events (such as the war film Black Hawk Down) on a wall as they unfurl. In 1066, the artist describes the events of the Battle of Hastings, as depicted by the Bayeux Tapestry.

As one reads the description, walking up and down the walls of the gallery in order to do so, it is an amalgamation of images from war films that blossom in the imagination, rather than images intricately embroidered by nuns. We follow the action, as though hearing a shot-for-shot description of a Ridley Scott movie. We hear the words of Harold's rousing speeches to his soldiers (this part surely going, in our imaginative casting, to Russell Crowe). In battle, we see "fountains of red blood puking" from open wounds, a horse falling "like a car crash".

The conflation of sexuality and war are never far away in Banner's descriptions (and neither, one guesses, are gleeful thoughts of the nuns who created the tapestry's imagery). The language is as earthy as the English soil, which is being fought over: a soldier's dagger is "protruding from his waist like a big cock", and descriptions of horses' members, erect or flaccid, reappear constantly throughout the text. We suffer and enjoy the gory battle from start to finish, an image of the tapestry now glinting in our minds with grim, blood-spattered life. The sound of violence is everywhere, even in this silent room. Here is just a pile of books, a jumble of words and a silent monument. But here also is a dark history of an island, forever at war.

To 15 January (020 7494 1550)

Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution