His identity is a mystery that adds to his allure, but a new exhibition in Italy dedicated to street artist Banksy looks beyond the feverish headlines to explore his works as vehicles for protest.
The solo show, organised by the Museum of Cultures in Milan, is “the first on Banksy organised by a public museum apart from the one in Bristol put on by the artist, but that was a one-off performance,” curator Gianni Mercurio said Tuesday.
The Italian show was organised without Banksy’s say-so and was “very difficult, it was like working with a ghost,” he told AFP.
Banksy’s true identity has been a closely-guarded secret since the start of the 1990s. He is known to be British and comes from Bristol. He uploads photographs of his works onto his website, but never comments.
“Banksy owes a lot of his success, or rather to his popularity, to the fact that he is an anonymous artist. It’s a contradiction: his notoriety comes from his anonymity,” he said.
Mercurio said he opted for “a slightly academic approach” in putting together the exhibition, entitled “A Visual Protest”, which opens Wednesday and runs until April.
“I want the public to understand who Banksy is as an artist and not just as a media phenomenon. He has become a myth and that means his art has become secondary,” he said.