The locals and visitors to the city can visit, from this Friday until March 23 next year, more than 70 works by British graffiti artist Banksy at the Disseny Hub museum. The exhibition has not been authorized by the artist, who assures that he prefers to stay out of the traditional artistic circuit and remain anonymous.
Many of the works displayed in the exhibition ‘BANKSY. The Art of Protest ‘are known worldwide, most of them screenprints and studio pieces, but there are two that the general public had never been able to see exhibited: Pissing Guard (a guard who pees in the street) and Out of Bed Rat (a rat that has just got out of bed), since they were made on the walls of buildings in London and Los Angeles.
These two unpublished works were “torn” from their original location by the building owners and sold to private collectors who were in charge of preserving them, according to the exhibition curator Alexander Nachkebiya in the press presentation.
For the first time, the owners of these pieces have decided to share them with the public. And to preserve the essence with which Banksy created them, those responsible for the exhibition have located them at the entrance of the exhibition, so that anyone can come to see them without paying the entrance.
Mireia Escobar, director of the Disseny Hub Barcelona, has explained to the media that it has not been easy at all to gather all these works in a single space, since they came from many different countries and that the situation has been hampered by pandemic and Brexit .
However, he has assured that carrying out an exhibition like this is “a declaration of principles” that shows the desire of this museum to become a place of dialogue between the public and the creators who, as in the case of Banksy, force the viewer to ethical reflection.
The event was also attended by the First Deputy Mayor Jaume Collboni who wanted to highlight the commitment of the council to convert Plaça de les Glòries and the 22 @ district into a new cultural center for the city of Barcelona and also into “the zero kilometer of artistic creation “.
In turn, he thanked the museum for its commitment to exhibitions for the general public and stressed that the city of Barcelona could not be a better location for an exhibition called ‘BANKSY. The Art of Protest ‘, because it believes that the Catalan capital has always been at the forefront of protests and social struggles, as an example of this, it has cited the Tragic Week or the’ No to war ‘movement.
In his speech, the curator of the exhibition Alexander Nachkebiya pointed out that the success and fame that Banksy has achieved does not only lie in his being a talented artist who knows the history of art very well. Nachkebiya believes that the enigmatic artist is so attractive because “he is controversial and, at the same time, makes us realize that behind his mysterious name there is a real person with his concerns, friends, passions and fears,” he explained.
On the question of Banksy not taking part in the exhibition, Nachkebiya said that “it is their decision and we must respect it, but collectors have the right to show their possessions, as for them it is a source of pride.” “I would love for the artist to want to get involved, but we already know that he is a rebel who wants to stay out of the system and who often makes fun of buyers who are willing to pay thousands and thousands of euros for his works”, the commissioner added.
Among the works on display, the iconic ones stand out Lenin on skates, Love is in the air (which is the image of the exhibition), Girl with ballon and Napalm, among many others. In them, Banksy places the observer before universal questions that incite reflection such as globalization, consumerism, wars, the power of politics and religion, the class struggle, the migratory crisis or the climate crisis. For this, the artist uses a wide variety of formats, for example, oil, acrylic or spray on canvas or wood.
The final and complementary part of this exhibition, which focuses on the trajectory and works of Banksy, consists of a photographic report by Steve Lazarides that portrays Banksy’s way of working on the streets of the world, photographs and videos of the project called Dismaland (a macabre amusement park that Banksy created in the south of England), the recreation of the artist’s studio and the presentation in virtual reality format of his works on different international stages.