Frank Benson’s Flag (Union Jack) (2013) reflects the artist’s ongoing fascination with the depiction of arrested motion and the use of digital tools in the creation of sculpture.
To create this work, an image of the Union Flag (commonly called the Union Jack) of the United Kingdom was mapped onto a three-dimensional plane created in a computer animation program. The plane was then subjected to simulated wind and turbulence, and a still from the animation was
chosen as the pattern of the sewn nylon flag. Even when flat, these manipulations give the flag the appearance of billowing in high wind – contorting and disfiguring its stripes while remaining implausibly constrained to a rectangle. Benson in this way confuses the distinction between the flag as image and the flag as object. The rippled appearance of the Union Jack when it is flown – an unintentional consequence of climate – has been intentionally translated onto the flag’s design.
National flags, particularly the Union Jack, are a frequent sight around the ICA on the Mall in central London. The road is a focal point of state occasions, during which national flags line the route. Flag (Union
Jack) dramatically magnifies, and subtly mutates, these stately
insignia. Benson’s Flag (Union Jack) also follows his previous work Flag, which has flown in various locations around the world since 2005.
Frank Benson was born in 1976 in Virginia, USA. He studied at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, and for a Master of Fine Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2012 he was Artist in Residence at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Airports and Extrusions’ (with Peter Fischli and David Weiss) at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, 2012; and ‘Extrusions’, Artpace, San Antonio, Texas, 2011. His work has been presented in numerous group exhibitions including ‘To Be With Art Is All We Ask’, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2012); ‘Home Alone’, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2011); ‘Frank Benson, Mark Grotjahn, Matt Johnson’, Hydra Workshops, Hydra, Greece (2011); ‘In the Name of the Artists – American Contemporary Art from the Astrup Fearnley Collection’, Bienal Pavillion, São Paulo, Brazil (2011); and ‘Permanent Mimesis’, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin, Italy (2010). Benson lives and works in New York.