Banksy: A visual protest

Banksy, CND Soldiers, 2005
Banksy, CND Soldiers, 2005

Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet.
Over 90 works, in a rigorous exposition itinerary, illustrate Banksy’s world. The 16th-century architecture of the Chiostro del Bramante in Rome becomes a setting for the “unknown” artist who has charmed the world through works steeped in irony, denunciation, politics, intelligence, and protest.

From Love is in the Air to Girl with Balloon; from Queen Vic to Napalm, from Toxic Mary to HMV, from the press runs for the book Wall & Piece to the projects for vinyl and CD covers.
I was pretty bad with the spray can, so I started cutting out the stencils: Banksy’s own words provide some indications as to the technique he most frequently uses. On display, thanks to stencilling: paper or canvas prints, along with a selection of unique works executed using different techniques – oil or acrylic on canvas, spray on canvas, stencils on metal or concrete, painted polymeric sculptures or varnished bronze ones.
The exhibition itinerary features over twenty projects for record and book covers, spanning the years from 2001 to 2017. All works come from private collections.
With this new exhibition project, DART – Chiostro del Bramante carries on its commitment to present art to the public through its leading representatives: after the success of ‘Bacon and Freud and the London School’, held in collaboration with Tate, it is now Banksy’s turn.
The ‘walls’ designed by Donato Bramante around 1500 house the ideas, dreams, and messages launched by the world’s most famous unknown artist on countless walls in countless cities. The contradiction is only apparent, as in recent years the Chiostro has shown a considerable openness to the most diverse languages of contemporary art.