Banksy’s works pop up in all sorts of places, but seeing them is often a challenge. For his devotees or just the curious,
Enjoy the experience of immersing yourself in Banksy
The exhibition is made possible by loans from private owners enabling the world’s largest collection of over 90 authenticated Banksy works to be put on show in a cavernous basement venue that perfectly fits the bill. The walls are black, as are the floors, except for exposed patches where the paint has worn off. Tightly focussed lighting highlights each work in contrast to its surround and maximum use is made of the extensive space for each work to have its area.
The exhibition is a display of how Banksy’s famous public works that often appeared overnight on walls have been integrated into a repertoire of prints, canvasses, screen prints, unique works and limited-edition pieces which are mainly dated from 1997 to 2008, a period in which he produced some of his most outstanding works. In addition, witty, subversive and critical quotations from the artist adorn the walls and at various points it's also possible to watch exclusive video interviews with Banksy’s former printer, that provide insights and historical background. We’re reminded that “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” and that “If you are dirty, insignificant and unloved then rats are the ultimate role model”.
The display is both chronological and thematic, the latter arrangement showing various interpretations of the same subject matter.There are also explanations and examples of processes involving inks and proofs and some of the most famous works are represented including Girl with a Balloon, Rude Copper, the Turf War portrait of Winston Churchill and his largest work that became part of the controversy surrounding Exit Through the Gift Shop. To help with viewing there is an audio set with further information on some of the pieces.
The exhibition comes with a warning that “the Art of Banksy is not authorised or curated in collaboration with the elusive man himself”. That perhaps is to be expected. More surprise has been expressed at the cost of the tickets; the irony, of course, being that this is the very sort of capitalist endeavour, complete with souvenir shop, that Banksy would rail against.