Banksy is the world’s most successful street artist. But who is hiding behind this pseudonym? The Rosenhang Museum in Weilburg, Germany tried to get to the bottom of the phenomenon.
Who is Banksy? This question is not at all new. Banksy is believed to be a male, but this elusive artist can still appear to be a woman or even a collective of artists. Despite some supposedly known biographical information about the origin and age of Banksy, with some degree of certainty, we can only talk about his creations. For example, 25 of his works were presented at an exhibition at the Rosenhang Museum, titled “Who the fuck is Banksy?” The exhibit was on view from September 25, 2020 to February 15, 2021.
The exhibits were mainly Banksy’s vinyl covers, many of which have already acquired cult status and are sought after by collectors around the world. Among the pieces presented at the Museum was, in particular, the famous pop art portrait of Kate Moss for the Dirty Funker project. The exhibition was complemented by a soundtrack by Lutz Fahrenkrog-Petersen, which included the music of the Bristol-based band, among other things.
Between rebellion and commerce
Among the exhibits was also a reprint of “Girl with a Balloon,” one of Banksy’s most famous paintings. This work went down in history as a masterpiece of conceptual art, indicating the madness of the art market. In front of everyone present, right after the sale at Sotheby’s London auction in 2018, the canvas was cut into shreds by a shredder built into the frame, but only in half. The new art piece formed in this way was nevertheless bought. Moreover, it doubled in its estimated value as compared to the original. The artwork, which was renamed “Love Is in the Bin,” is now preserved in a museum in Stuttgart.
Art is important, no matter who Banksy is
The title of the exhibition “Who the fuck is Banksy” shows the idea that for art itself, it does not matter who or what Banksy is. It also shows that any of us could declare ourselves in this or similar way and point out social problems. In other words, any of us could be Banksy. However, the truth is that most of us are hardly ready for this.