For Plane Text in 2012, Art Basel Miami Beach commissioned ‘fifteen of the most seminal figures in text art’ to create text works to be trailed behind aeroplanes. For Wellington Pākehā-Indian artist Elisabeth Pointon, this would have been a dream commission. Her text-based work subverts the overhyped, and often exclusionary, languages of the corporate and art worlds. Not waiting for an invitation, Pointon responded by making and flying her own aerial banners.
Pointon’s banners bear punchy, uplifting slogans, which also side eye the Plane Text project which included just three women, and no one of colour. Her big words carry an even larger subtext—questioning who is afforded the right to speak, where, and on whose terms.
Pointon garnered community support to pull off her dream project, roping in friends and repurposing her flat as a party venue for fundraising, working with artist-run-initiative play_station, and establishing a collaborative relationship with aerial advertising company Airbubble. She has taken to the skies to fly SPECTACULAR. over One Tree Hill, and BIG DEAL. at the Auckland Art Fair.
What Goes Up rounded off Pointon’s year-long trilogy. It featured banners and documentation of the three performances. On the final weekend of the show new banner OUTSTANDING. was flown across Wellington’s skyline.