Independent Reviews: Banksy – The Art of Rebellion (documentary)

A 112-minute documentary, shot in 2020 and directed by Elio Espana, (can be viewed on the Prime video streaming platform), identified through careful research, puts Banksy’s character well into a period lasting about twenty years, from the end of the 1970s to the 1990s marked by The economic and obscurantist politics of the United Kingdom, to this day. Banksy is a nickname One of the world’s most famous advocates of street art and its importance. He has never revealed his true identity, but it is assumed that he was born in the UK around the 1970s, most likely in proletarian and multi-ethnic Bristol. It arose artistically in the historical context of the 1980s and 1990s when protests and turmoil swept the country due to a Conservative government whose Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, implemented fiscal and labor policies that favored the capitalist system causing very strong public discontent and spreading malaise and dissatisfaction mainly among the youth.

We don’t really know anything about Banksy, perhaps with an academic background he then developed artistically in the early 1990s in one of the few secret groups left after “Operation Anderson”, the largest anti-graffiti work in history, commissioned by the English government who considered graffiti not a free form of artistic expression but rather an act of vandalism. Over time, all this was overturned and blatantly denied. Unconventional, cutting and revolutionary, this artist’s work is made in a simple and straightforward manner Now recognized worldwide, it makes us think of the system and society in which we live as a symbol of struggle and protest in a world where the economic interests of capitalism prevail over the interest of the collective. Provocation and unpredictability characterize him. In October 2018, Sotheby’s “The Girl with the Balloon”, perhaps her most famous work, sold for 860 thousand pounds, but immediately and unexpectedly a hidden device that no one knows how or who destroys it in half in a few seconds to modify it and increase its value. A major destabilizing and denouncing effect against the commodification of art and fetishism also occurred when Banksy was surreptitiously able to place some of his work at Tate Britain among Bacon and Blake’s paintings, or in the Louvre and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where the other was. The works were drawn up between Monet and Picasso.

The characters drawn by Banksy are mainly animals like busy mice, intelligent monkeys, and children who are portrayed as oblivious, playful and innocent, but smarter than adults who convey very powerful messages about today’s society. Policemen as reference figures question and conflict between the social role and the authoritarian role. Thus he transforms himself from a writer into a conceptual artist, where the image is the ‘message’. And the choice of place where it must be recognized that it is necessary to give concrete form to political and social denunciation and to put street art against institutional systems by boycotting galleries and museums to make art accessible to all anywhere. For this reason, while it does not authorize exhibitions devoted to his work, he does not prohibit it and encourages everyone who wants to make his work travel, anyone who wants to reinterpret it and give it a voice. According to him, art should belong to everyone and the messages should reach everyone.

This highly politicized art form has created a true creative movement inspired by themes such as poverty, anti-consumerism, pollution, animal abuse, child exploitation, and the atrocities of war. Banksy’s social activist profile, graffiti art, and quick stenciling technique combine into one character Giving life to “terrorist” art with a high communicative depthCosmopolitan and revolutionary with works that are quickly understandable by every social class, creed and religion, and seriously capable of moving and making the masses think.

[di Federico Mels Colloredo]

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