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Banksy shows up at Berlin event, sort of

BanksyBanksy, the world famous but determinedly unknown street artist from Bristol  is truly a master of the paradox.

He creates his art works in the most unlikely places, from a Guantanamo Bay detainee in Disneyland to English bank notes with the Queen’s face replaced by Princess Diana’s.

At the Berlin Film Festival Sunday 14 February, Banksy may or may not have been in attendance, but he introduced his new film “Exit Though the Gift Shop” with commentary (recorded, in a disguised voice) explaining that he never intended to make a film.

With typical wry humour he claims, “…it’s a good film as long as you’ve got very low expectations.”  Critics didn’t necessarily agree with him on that – there were some rave reviews for the film.

Banksy has developed much more than a cult following with his daring and often illegal graffiti.  Some of his work has been sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds, and more than half a million people in Britain and the U.S. have flocked to one or more of his four exhibitions.  Banksy insists on anonymity, and though he appears in his own film, viewers can only see a shadowed silhouette.

Banksy’s graffiti is a satire on politics and cultures – much of it is considered outrageous and prosecutable by the ‘mainstream’ – but Banksy is an artist.  What began as a counter-culture activity has become a world phenomenon, and he may actually realize his stated goal of raising the standing of urban graffiti art.


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