When I first stepped into the dark corridor of the exhibition with my tote bag, laptop bag and an audio guide, I was convinced something was going to jump out of nowhere. And I was completely right.
It was Banksy’s quote on a well lit wall: ‘Nobody ever listened to me until they didn’t know who I was’. At that moment it read like a liberating sentence to me - the message matterring more than the person - and that aspect still remains throughout all of Banksy’s work but the more I thought about it, the more I realised the sadness within the quote. Not because it’s a shame that the vast majority of people don’t know his identity, but because it shows me, like many other things, that we pay more attention to who says things rather than what we say. Exactly for that reason, Banksy’s work pushes through the abstract work which leaves room for interpretation, and boldly points out various societal truths and hypocrisies.
I don’t want to spoil the fun, so I’ll only share a few of the prints that attracted my attention, such as 'Happy Chopper’ (above) which show more about his attitude towards the military.
You’ll also see various prints of ‘Love is in the Air’ (on the right), a famous piece, and ‘Trolleys’ (on the left) - for which both of the original artworks have been sold at Sotheby’s for a lot of money, and lastly,‘Because I’m worthless’ (far below). The print alludes to Banksy’s interpretation of the rat, which you will see more of in the exhibition.
The exhibition is hosted underground in a one-way system well organised labrinth, with music played throughout the exhibition. While walking I heard an Arctic Monkeys song playing - accompanied by other artists and songs which I feel like I should have recognised but I didn’t - which alongside the spatial arrangement of the exhibition crafted an incredible atmosphere.
The exhibition walks you through Banksy’s early history (as much as it’s known of it); the creation of his first film (‘Exit through the gift shop’) which got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; some of the motifs in his work, and the beginnings of printing artworks. One of the informational highlights for me was listening to Ben Eine who partnered up with Bansky and founded the ‘Pictures on Walls’ gallery, talk about the nitty gritties of working with Banksy and printing artworks.
Overall, I have absolutely loved this exhibition, not only because it has shown me Banksy artworks that I have never seen before, but also because of its excellent and refreshing atmosphere, engaging way of telling a story, and moreover just the great fun that I had during this exhibition. I do believe that this is one of the few times such a big collection of Banksy’s artworks have been put on display, and it is an exhibition that you should definitely see!
When: 20th of November - 30th of January 2022
Where: 50 Earlham Street, London
You can find more information about ticketing, opening days and general queries at https://artofbanksy.co.uk/
COVID-19: The exhibition adheres to the one-way walking system and provides hand sanitisers throughout the whole exhibition.
Written by Tímea Koppándi