A cardboard wall flanked by two black rats gives access to what could be the study of Banksy. There, in darkness, a mannequin dressed in dark and with his head covered by the hood of a black sweatshirt. Surround sprays of all colors, paint cans, brushes, templates and the rest of the instruments that have made the faceless graffiti artist one of the most famous artists in the world thanks to his interventions on walls in London, Gaza, Bethlehem or Calais and other blows of effect. From there begins a labyrinthine tour of its most famous serigraphs, grouped by themes and mixed with the odd installation. 73 pieces make up the exhibition Banksy, Genius or Vandal?, that until March 10 can be seen in the Pavilion 5.1 of Ifema (fairground of Madrid), at a price of 16.40 euros.
Organized by the Russian company IQ Art Management Corporation and the Spanish company Sold Out, which is, together with Ifema, behind pavilion 5.1 (5,000 square meters), all the work that is on display is for sale, although the operations can not be closed in the fairground. The curator of this hybrid exhibition, Alexander Nachkebiya, assures that the exposed work (28 original serigraphs and 45 reproductions) is valued at around 17 million euros. The most expensive work, almost two million, is a huge graffiti painted on a brick wall titled Stop Esso, in reference to the campaign launched by Greenpeace in 2000 to boycott the US oil company for its harmful effects on the environment. Needless to say, the artist does not endorse this exposure of the secondary market of his work. When, at the beginning of the year, this show opened in Moscow, Banksy wrote to a follower on his Instagram account: "You know that this has nothing to do with me, right?"
Always under a forced twilight so that the visitor feels immersed in street art and forbidden, the exhibition goes into the most known pieces of one of the most famous artists of the century of which, however, hardly knows anything. One of the works that occupies a main space is screen printing Little girl with balloon (2003), one of his most recognizable creations, especially after starring in his latest commercial bombing. It belongs to the series of the same name that last October 10 was auctioned and chopped in the Sotheby's room From london. Almost at the same time that the mallet sounded with what was indicated that the work Girl with Balloon (Girl with balloon) It was awarded, it was destroyed by a shredder.
The buyer of the work, a European collector, did not get discouraged and agreed to pay the price committed, 1.8 million euros. The collector took the remains to her house, baptized again by the artist with humor as Love is in the Bin (Love is in the bin). The first time Banksy painted this girl throwing a heart-shaped balloon was during a street action under the stairs of London's South Bank. Then, in his usual way of working, he converted the graffiti into silkscreen for commercialization. In 2014, he authorized the use of the image for the campaign to support the Syrian population.
Another of the most striking points is dedicated to one of his most famous interventions: a hotel boutique in Bethlehem, of only nine luxurious rooms, from whose windows you can see the wall erected by Israel. In the work appear a Palestinian and an Israeli in the middle of the war of pillows, key rings with pieces of wall or an elevator walled by a brick wall. All very Banksy. Except that this time, his art goes straight to the market and not to the street.