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cover image: what are you looking at security camera by banksy
words by niall roeder
The most well known unknown artist in the world, Banksy, is coming down under. That is, the art of Banksy is coming down under. We don’t know if he will be gracing our shores, because we still aren’t sure who he actually is. In fact, the whole exhibition hasn’t even been approved by the unidentified street artist – an unsanctioned exhibition of works that were never sanctioned. It’s the type of controversy that is to be expected when talking about someone who has never played by the rules… even if the paint-splattered shoe is now on the other foot.
Curated by Steve Lazarides, the mysterious artist’s former agent, The Art of Banksy features 80 iconic works, which is the largest collection to be thrown together in Australia. Lazarides linked up with Banksy in the 90s and stayed on selling his works and as his agent until 2008, when the pair split in unexplained circumstances. Now, some eight years later he’s put together an exhibition of works, supposedly without authorisation by the man himself.
What is it about the mostly stencil-based artworks that is so damn intriguing? Banksy’s dark and witty works expose his social conscience, with subject matter that is both grim and visually appealing. The illegally-placed murals and installations are finished under the cover of night and deal with themes like consumerism, war, authority and fascism. Since his rise to infamy, he has split art-lovers and the general public down the middle – some claiming him to be the biggest figure in the art world today, and others dismissing him as nothing more than a delinquent-prone to vandalism.
The Paddock, in Melbourne’s Federation Square is home to the controversial showing over summer. This is a chance (maybe your only chance) to see the illusive artist’s works in the flesh – who knows, you might even see the actual artist in the flesh too… you just won’t know it, if you do.
The Art of Banksy runs from Oct 7 – Jan 22 at Federation Square.
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