Don' t look back

  • 1999
  • Fiona Banner
  • silkscreen on paper
  • (3x) 257 x 314 cm
  • Location not on view.
  • Acquired in 1999
  • Inventory number 2421
  • met steun van / with support of Mondriaan Fonds

The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.

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'Don’t look back' by the English artist Fiona Banner consists of three blocks of text of about 2.5 x 3 metres printed in black letters on silver-coloured paper. These texts are presented on the wall, either next to each other or on different walls in the same space. They are entirely printed in capital letters and there is no subdivision into paragraphs. The lines are long with little use of punctuation. The three blocks contain virtually the same text, giving a description of D.A. Pennebaker’s 'Don’t look back', a documentary about the tour made by Bob Dylan through England in 1965. It is a direct report of what she saw and heard when she watched the film.

Fiona Banner has been presenting works consisting of descriptions of films for several years. They are usually presentations as wide as a screen of handwritten or printed texts on paper, also known as “wordscapes”. Because they are so extensive they are like landscapes of words which cannot be immediately grasped by the viewer. He can look over the landscape stopping at a particular fragment and then wandering on again. As the lines are very long and placed very close together, it does not invite the viewer to read the whole text. Banner chooses films based on true historical events, such as the war in Vietnam. A viewer who has seen the film concerned will remember it based on Banner’s descriptions and anyone who has not seen the film can imagine it.

Banner is fascinated by the fact that many people only know about historical events when they are filmed. These filmed versions are always subjective, no matter how much the historical facts are followed. Even documentaries are subjective, as is the way in which they are viewed. With her three versions of 'Don’t look back', Banner indicates that one individual will also see or interpret something slightly differently every time. Perception is subjective.

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