Barcelona inaugurates the Museu Banksy this Thursday and does so with 30 new works, beyond those that already existed in what was known until now as Espai Trafalgar and that were part of The World of Banksy exhibition. The center, which has been dedicated to promoting the work of the Bristol street artist for three years, has decided to change its name in view of its success and public interest in the graffiti artist's work. And it is that there are about 100,000 visitors who have come to this space to see some of his most popular works
“The idea is that this is the place of reference for the artist not only in the Catalan capital but throughout the world. An educational space in which his strong political commitment is also highlighted”, explains the curator of the exhibition, Hazis Vardar, to La Vanguardia, who anticipates that, in addition to these 30 new works, there will soon be new ones dedicated to the war in Ukraine. "Although this is a permanent exhibition, the goal is to incorporate the new works that you create in real time, or as close as possible."
The works that make up the collection are life-size reproductions created by ten artists from different parts of the world since, as Vardar recalls, "the original murals are in the streets and it would be impossible to move a piece of a building wall here ”. Furthermore, he recalls, “many of them have disappeared because that's what street art is like. One day it is there and the next, either there is graffiti on it, or the City Council asks to erase it or simply nature degrades it”. For this reason, he insists, "it is very important that museums like this exist, since they allow none of these murals to be forgotten."
Once at the entrance, the visitor will find rat tracks on the floor that mark the route of the exhibition, divided into three rooms set in the different countries in which the British artist has worked. These traces will guide the viewer towards the first of the new works, Kate Moss, a series of drawings that pay homage to Andy Warhol's iconic Marilyn Monroe, superimposing the actress's hairstyle with the supermodel's face. The rat is a recurring animal in the artist's works, since with it "he represents speculators from all fields, from banking and the stock market to the real estate markets," explains Vardar. Banksy himself wrote on his Instagram: “Rats live without permission. They are hated, persecuted and hunted. They live in silent despair among the filth. And even with everything, they are capable of bringing entire civilizations to their knees.” That is why they are protagonists in many of the museum's murals.
Another outstanding work is Venice in Oil, a series of paintings arranged on easels like a puzzle that represent a cruise ship on a Venice canal. A clear complaint about the risk that the city assumes by hosting more and more boats full of tourists. These canvases are on the first floor along with some new graffiti that denounces the plight of migrants, such as the refugee boy holding a pink sparkler, which the artist made on the island of Dorsoduro, during the vernissage of the Venice Biennale .
No less important are the works carried out in the midst of a pandemic that recall the emergency situation experienced by the covid. One of them is ¡Achís!, originally painted on the wall of a house and showing an old woman who loses her false teeth when she sneezes. Nor is her tribute to the toilets missing, Game changer, which she executed at the entrance to the emergency department of the Southampton hospital in May 2020 and which represents a child playing with a nurse dressed in a cape, making her fly like Superman.
Although if there is any work with which the public identifies the one from Bristol, that is none other than Girl with balloon. “Someone may not know who Banksy is, but then you show this girl holding a red heart-shaped balloon and it doesn't take long for them to spot it. The same goes for the drawing of the vandal holding a bouquet of flowers instead of a Molotov cocktail. Both are undoubtedly the most representative graffiti of her and for this reason they could not be missing here ”, concludes Vardar.