Girl with A Ballon by Banksy / via Wikimedia commons CC BY-SA 2.0

The World of Banksy coming to Prague’s Galerie Mánes

Prints and images of British provocateur Banksy’s work will be complemented by local artists’ work

Art from the mysterious British provocateur Banksy will be at Prague’s Galerie Mánes from June 5 to September 27.

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An exhibition called The World of Banksy — the Immersive Experience presents over 65 printed items from private collections and more than 30 examples of wall graffiti. The show will be filled out with additional works by young Czech graffiti artists.

The works by Bansky have previously been shown in Paris and Barcelona. They are in Prague for the first time.

Banksy, whose identity remains unknown, has become one of the world’s most famous street artists, His work has appeared on walls in London, New York, Berlin, Gaza and Tokyo. Unlike many current pop culture icons who thrive by promoting their faces and lives on social media, Banksy’s allure comes from his anonymity, which puts the message of art front and center.

His work first appeared in the 1990s, and has usually been critical of the status quo. “This veil of mystery has made his anti-capitalism, anti-war, and anti-authoritarian work more sensational day by day. While Banksy’s attitude of not being hesitant to criticize images, politics, even art and museums that make up the popular culture was seen as a simple revolt for some; it was interpreted as ‘ingenious’ by the majority,” the organizers said on Facebook.

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His works of graffiti are generally unveiled without any fanfare, discovered only after they are finished. He also does not sign or number his work.

The artist has opposed the commodification of art, but several of his pieces have found their way onto the art market. While he had some exhibitions in the early 2000s, since then he has stepped away from organized gallery shows and has not participated in curating this one.

All the works in The World of Banksy come from private collections and not directly from the artist. The advertising poster for the event states that is is “Guaranteed 100% Unauthorized.”

In October 2018, just after one of his works, “Girl With a Balloon,” sold at auction for $1.4 million, a remote-controlled shredder built in the frame partly destroyed the work once the gavel sounded.

His graffiti often pops in political hot spots. In 2005 he created nine images on the Israeli West Bank wall. A decade later he went to Gaza in 2015 and also released a two-minute video. One of the images in Gaza was of a kitten on a destroyed building. He said that people liked to see pictures of kittens, so he would use them to draw attention to the destruction in Gaza.

Also in 2015, he created murals near Calais, France, where immigrants gathered to try to enter the UK.

He has also been active in art events such as Barely Legal in 2006, which featured a painted elephant in a warehouse. In 2015 he participated in Dismaland, a parody of theme park set up in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England.

Banksy directed the film Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was released in 2010 and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

The artist in 2010 was featured in Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010, along with then-US president Barack Obama and Lady Gaga. This was despite his actual identity, appearance or any other personal details being unknown.

Details on The World of Banksy exhibition can be found on the Galerie Manes event page on Facebook.

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