Iconic Banksy Mural Restored In Berlin

American Artist Brad Downey uncovers masterpiece as part of his own project

One of the most iconic murals by British street artist Banksy titled,’ Every Picture Tells a Lie’ has been meticulously uncovered in Berlin. The American,urban installation artist Brad Downey has  unveiled the work after a gallery painted over it in 2003 to clear the way for newer works. Brad lists the materials as “restored/extracted ‘Banksy’ Installation  (originally painted in 2003 for the exhibition Backjumps- Volume:1), red paint,” the piece is part of a show curated by Adrian Nabi called ‘Do Not Think!’ Adrian Nabi also recently curated the Backjumps show.

The interventions that stand out most for me are the ones where there have been very few obstacles. Usually it’s defeat after technical defeat, and then it finally works. But on those special days where you say ´Hey, I hope this will work` and it happens with no trouble, it feels perfect. In Scotland I once cut a heart out of the tarp on the outside of a building under construction. I managed to make a massive piece of work in about 10 minutes with a pair of scissors. That amazed me. I was arrested and had to pay a fine afterwards but the tarp cut smooth as butter. This is an example of another project by Downey and the Banksy installation is related. His work often involves removing the context of objects and placing them in different situations.

In a celebrity-dominated culture marked by a near-universal quest for fame, the British graffiti artist known as Banksy has remained resolutely invisible. Cloaked in anonymity and often using intermediaries to handle the press, the one-word phenomenon nevertheless became one of 2006’s most talked-about personalities. That same year, he brought his brand of subversive, politically challenging, and often darkly witty art to the United States for the first time in a Los Angeles exhibition. Graffiti skirts the border between art and crime, and Banksy’s self-imposed secrecy allows him to continue his work outside of the conventional commercial channels of galleries and museums. On his Web site, he asserts that the authentic criminal minds he has met have told him that “breaking in someplace, not stealing anything and then leaving behind a painting of your name in four foot high letters the most retarded thing they ever heard of.”

Though he has sought to keep his real identity a mystery. Banksy was born in Bristol, England, in 1974 or 1975. The artist has admitted to experiencing difficulties in school during his youth and drifting toward a life of petty crime after he was expelled, and said that he had spent some time in jail. At some point he left Bristol for London.

A new organization on Facebook has appeared in the last few months to monotor and protect valuable street art Internationally.  Here is the link: SOSA Save Our Street

SOSA is the start of a lobbying group which plans to list and put pressure on Local Councils to be responsible for the protection of these works. It is time to start treating them as they would any piece of public art under their control. Camden Council removed one of Banksy’s best known works (French Maid ) stating that it encouraged anti social behavior.These works are in desperate need of preservation some are flaking and must be put under protective care. A worldwide preservation society needs to be actioned immediately, if we are to protect these important 21st century frescoes.
 Recently Google launched “Google Street Art View”.  The Street Map site can be utilized to showcase works of graffiti art from around the globe. This project has been realized   through a collaboration between the Brazilian ad agency Loducca and Red Bull. It has created an innovative source for discovering new works, the project is user driven. Artwork is searchable by location or author, and while locations are restricted to those places where Google’s cameras have recorded the area, Street Art View’s goal was to be “the biggest art collection in the world”. After just a few days live, the platform had over 200 walls tagged in various countries, including big names such as Keith Haring, Os Gêmeos and Banksy. The drawback is that the photos were already a few years old and many of the works were gone. Another downside was that It pinpointed the works to thieves and over zealous councils who have than removed the works.
This type of technology is proof that we have the know-how and viewing platform but now need to protect our heritage. These 21st century cultural icons are valid works of contemporary art and need strict guidelines and preservation orders. They are not taken seriously by local councils and private owners who don’t differentiate the works from the thousands of Tags and sub grade quality Graffiti Art that appears and disappears every day in most cities across the world.

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