Get­ting back at Banksy

The Citizen (KZN) - - WORLD - Madrid

– Banksy has been Banksied. The guerilla artist who puts up his work in pub­lic spa­ces without ask­ing au­tho­ri­sa­tion is the sub­ject of a new show in Madrid fea­tur­ing his works – without his au­tho­ri­sa­tion.

Ge­nius or Van­dal? opened on Thurs­day at the Ifema cen­tre in the Span­ish cap­i­tal and will run un­til March 10.

It has al­ready pulled in half a mil­lion vis­i­tors at its pre­vi­ous venues Moscow and Saint Peters­burg, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the or­gan­is­ers.

The show’s cu­ra­tor Alexan­der Nachke­biya, who as­sem­bled the works from pri­vate col­lec­tors, de­scribes Banksy as “a phe­nom­e­non and one of the most bril­liant and im­por­tant artist of our epoch”.

The street artist him­self re­mains some­thing of an enigma. All he has re­vealed about him­self is that he is British and that his home town is Bris­tol in south­east Eng­land.

But the dark wit of his art and a cer­tain tal­ent for self-pro­mo­tion has helped him build up an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion, to the point that his works have fetched more than a mil­lion pounds.

In Au­gust, Banksy used his In­sta­gram ac­count – 5.1 mil­lion fol­low­ers – to make his po­si­tion clear on the orig­i­nal Moscow show.

He posted an ex­change of mes­sages be­tween him and a fol­lower who tipped him off to the unau­tho­rised ex­hi­bi­tion.

Told they were charg­ing a £20 (about R360) en­trance free, Ban­sky replied: “I wish I could find it funny. What’s the op­po­site of LOL?”

But at the sug­ges­tion that he put out a state­ment de­nounc­ing the fact that it was made to look like an of­fi­cial show, he replied: “Not sure I’m the best per­son to com­plain about peo­ple putting up pic­tures without get­ting per­mis­sion.”

Nev­er­the­less, his web­site does carry a mes­sage warn­ing vis­i­tors about this and other shows. “They’ve been or­gan­ised en­tirely without the artist’s knowl­edge or in­volve­ment. Please treat them ac­cord­ingly.” –

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