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Installed on the roof of the ICA’s Regency building from 15 March 2013, Flag (Union Jack) by New York-based contemporary artist Frank Benson 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 programme. 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.
The installation is the third sculpture to be displayed on the roof of Nash House. The first was Roberto Cuoghi’s Šuillakku in 2008 and the second was Franz West's Room in London in 2011.