BANKSY: Genius or Vandal? brings us nearer to the controversial artistic world of one of the most influential creators in recent years, featuring more than 70 works organised into various thematic sections. The exhibition includes original works, sculptures, installations, videos and photographs. The pieces, proceeding from private international collections, are being shown in Portugal for the first time.
An impressive in-the-round audio-visual installation especially created for this show greats the visitor on arrival, revealing clues about this mysterious artist, highlighting his most important pieces and framing his unusual career, fraught with polemic. Amongst the most widely recognised works in the show is the original silkscreen of the Girl with Balloon series, similar to the one recently destroyed by the artist in an unprecedented action at Sotheby’s London auction house.
¿Genius or vandal? The public decides.
Slippery, provocative, mysterious — Banksy, the British artist whose true identity is still unknown, is considered one of the leading representatives of contemporary Street Art. His work, which is often satirical, takes on universal subjects such as politics, culture or ethics. The aura of mystery that is created, whether by choice or necessity, every time Banksy’s name is mentioned, has turned him into a mythical character of our time.Working out of asphalt trenches, Banksy has defied the rules of the game for contemporary art. His visual protests have connected with a broad, heterogeneous public, and he is today one of the most widely recognised and admired artists amongst younger generations.
In words of Alexander Nachkebiya, producer of the exhibition: “Banksy has taken on the status of a phenomenon, and is one of the most brilliant and important artists of our time. His work is a challenge to the system, a protest; he has forged his brand with incredible skill, and he is a mystery as he works in disobedience to the law . . . We would like every visitor to this exhibition to be able to see for him or herself who Banksy really is: a genius or a vandal? An artist or a businessman? A provocateur or a rebel? Our exhibition seeks to reveal the depth of Banksy’s extraordinary talent, his many layers and dimensions, so that visitors themselves might be able to reflect on this and decide. His work, which is always fully inserted in present reality and is highly complete, delves into the soul of each one of us. I suppose that all this is what makes him a genius for me.”This exhibition, like all previous shows of Banksy’s work, is not authorised by the artist, who seeks protect his anonymity and independence from the system.