Renowned for his stencilling technique, Banksy is one of the most mystifying and controversial street artists of our time. Combining dark humour with underlying political messages and confronting social themes, Banksy’s work has appeared all over the world, from New York to (allegedly) Tauranga New Zealand, yet his identity still remains the art world’s best kept secret.
We took a look inside ‘The Art of Banksy’, the recent ‘unauthorised’ exhibition of original artworks gathered from private collections, courtesy of Banksy’s former agent Steve Lazarides.
While the location was very Banksy – ‘in the dodgy carpark, behind the good car park’, in a tent behind Melbourne’s Federation Square, there were jarring traces of gallery formality wrapped around the assembly of raw graffiti.
Most strikingly, yellow lines surrounded the ground in front of each artwork, presumably as a barrier to deter viewers from touching the work. Be it gallery practicality or subtle irony, this detail disrupted the experience and seemed to clash with Banksy’s mystique and the ethos of street art.
In an exhibition where the artist is famously interactive, having made news headlines for covertly installing paintings in art museums, we can’t help but feel a little disappointed that no artist has been bold enough to slip their own satirical piece in. Although maybe we’ve spoken too soon, the exhibition runs until 31 January 2017.