For those of you not interested in mediocre pro bono art installations, the Duveens Commission is essentially the squeaky voiced little brother to the Turbine Hall’s slick graduate lothario. Every year a different artist fills the entrance hall of Tate Britain with something to provoke a bit of mild public debate. Usually, we’re talking installations clocking in at ‘warmish’ on the popular culture outrage scale, a little more provocative than an edgy episode of the Paul O’Grady Show, a little less than the second MGMT album.

Fiona Banner’s ‘Harrier and Jaguar’, the Gallery’s 2010 exhibit for the Commission, continues in this proud tradition. The artist has taken two fighter jets, polished one until it works like a lumpy mirror, weathered the other with a feather pattern and then put them in the Tate. The former lies skewed on its back at the end of the gallery corridor, the latter hangs in a frozen nose dive near the entrance. Fiona Banner, pausing to admire her handiwork, writes on the wall near the front a few lines best summed up as What I Did On My Holidayz By Fiona Banner. ‘I remember long sublime walks in the Welsh mountains with my father, when suddenly a fighter plane would rip through the sky, and shatter everything… At the time harrier jump jets were at the cutting edge of technology but to me they were like dinosaurs, prehistoric, from a time before words’, she says. The Tate has a few things to say too. ‘Harrier and Jaguar remain ambiguous objects implying both captured beast and fallen trophy’, we are told.

And here’s the thing: all the information outlined above could be gleaned from a visit to the exhibit’s website, and that’s literally all there is to it. It’s true that almost all concept art ends up prioritising the idea over the aesthetic, but in successful concept art the idea isn’t fully elucidated until you see it in the flesh. When we brave the crowds of Guardian Readers and Americans to go and have a look at these objects, we’re supposed to be seeing something fascinating in them that we wouldn’t usually notice- form freed from function. However, because everything’s been painstakingly explained to us, and because the jets are very openly linked to their functional existence through that fucking awful title, sudden visual revelations are pretty unlikely. It’s essentially like having an idea for an installation explained to you by an unwanted friend-of-a-friend at the end of an average night out. Then them making you look at two planes for twenty minutes. For some reason.