ROME • His id is a thriller that provides to his attract, however a brand new exhibition in Italy devoted to road artist Banksy appears past the feverish headlines to discover his works as autos for protest.
The solo present, organised by the Museum of Cultures in Milan, is “the first on Banksy organised by a public museum, apart from the one in Bristol put on by the artist, but that was a one-off performance”, mentioned curator Gianni Mercurio.
The Italian present was organised with out Banksy’s say-so and was “very difficult – it was like working with a ghost”, he added.
Banksy’s id has been a closely-guarded secret because the begin of the 1990s. He is understood to be British and comes from Bristol. He uploads pictures of his works onto his web site, however by no means feedback on them.
“Banksy owes a lot of his success, or rather, his popularity, to the fact that he is an anonymous artist. His notoriety comes from his anony-mity,” mentioned Mr Mercurio, who opted for “a slightly academic approach” in placing collectively the exhibition, A Visual Protest. It opened final Wednesday and runs till April.
He added: “I want the public to understand who Banksy is as an artist and not just as a media phenomenon. He has become a myth and that means his art has become secondary.”
The present begins by trying on the artist’s influences, from the Situationism motion to the May 1968 rebellion in Paris. It explores key works similar to Love Is In The Air, a stencilled graffiti which captures a person within the act of throwing flowers as a substitute of a Molotov cocktail in a peaceable, however hard-hitting protest.
The present for the primary time unites round 80 works, together with work, sculptures and prints by the artist, in addition to 60 file and CD covers he has designed.
Several works present how Banksy subverts world-famous photos by altering components in them to change their that means.
In Flag, he takes Pulitzer prize-winner Joe Rosenthal’s of 5 Marines and a Navy man elevating the United States flag and replaces them with younger rebels from Harlem, who are elevating it over a burnt-out automobile.
In Turf War, he transforms British former prime minister Winston Churchill right into a Punk icon, calling it “creative vandalism”.
The exhibition additionally pays tribute to Banksy’s well-known rats, who he transforms into rappers, artists or violin gamers.
Banksy’s artwork, directly satirical and politically engaged, denounces every little thing from consumerism to US imperialism, or conflict. In Can’t Beat The Feelin’, for instance, Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald are superimposed onto the well-known of the bare lady fleeing napalm bombings in Vietnam, holding her palms as she runs.
“Banksy’s essence is the message. He is a storyteller and a realist because he uses elements and people from everyday life,” Mr Mercurio mentioned.
“He has revived the rebel and political side of street art which had been abandoned.”