In 2004, someone smuggled a fake Mona Lisa, painted with a yellow smiley face, into the Louvre. And later that year, spoof £10 notes appeared with a picture of Princess Diana's head instead of the Queen’s stamped with “Banksy of England.”
Banksy had struck again.
This anti-authoritarian graffiti genius is known to be one of the most mysterious and successful artists around in the genre of urban art. And now for the first time ever, Banksy will be showcasing his art in Hong Kong.
His works run the gamut of politics, culture and ethics. And often, they are deeply satirical—in 2006, he smuggled in a life-size replica of a Guantanamo Bay detainee into the Disneyland in California. Banksy is also known for his distinct stenciling technique that is difficult to decipher. Until today, his artistic practice and identity remain shrouded in mystery (very few people have ever interviewed him face to face, though it is said he’s from Bristol, England). He is thought to print images onto acetate sheets or cards, and possibly use computers for some pieces due to the photorealistic qualities of much of his work.
The "guerilla artist" has become a household name in England, and his work is now scattered across the globe. While some see his work as vandalism, he has managed to win over many in the art world. His pieces are always much in demand at auctions and collected by celebrities and art lovers alike.
Eternally subversive, his work has included “Laugh Now” (a gorilla with the placard over him saying Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be In Charge) and Smiley Copper (a cop with a smiley face on it), and even Pulp Fiction killers firing bananas, and a Warhol-esque Kate Moss image.
Rare and previously unseen originals and prints by Banksy, such as Grannies and Jack and Jill, are part of the Love Art exhibition at the Hong Kong Arts Centre from April 23-28, before moving onto the Schoeni Art Gallery on Old Bailey Street in Central from April 29-May 13.
The Love Art exhibition will also showcase work by Robert Indiana, Damien Hirst, Keith Haring, Romero Britto and Mel Ramos from exhibit curator’s Fabrik Contemporary Art’s private collection, divided into two themes – influences of modern-day pop culture and street art.
Love Art Exhibition, April 23-28, 10AM-8 PM at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, Wanchai
Banksy Solo Exhibition, April 30-May 13 at Schoeni Art Gallery, 21-31 Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong.