2 Dec 2010


This little exhibition at 1 Berwick Street, Soho was held by POW, Pictures On Walls, a new groundbreaking printhouse who brought to the world's attention the likes of Banksy & Paul Insect. Marks & Stencils is their Christmas exhibition, showing street art from a variety of artists, inlcuding some work of Banksy & Dran.

Banksy is the pseudonym of a unknown British Graffiti artist from Bristol. Banksy's work is often very controversial & satirical, pointing towards current political issues & controversies. His work reflects a variety of social & political themes, including; anti-war, anti-fascism, anti-capitalism, anti-authoritarianism, & anarchism. The locations of his work are also controversial, including inside the penguin enclosure at London Zoo, on the walls of sexual health clinics, the Berlin Wall, the West Bank barrier in Israel & many more. The following three images are works on canvas of his at this exhibition.

The following images are a combination of artists, mainly by another controverisal artist, Dran. His part in the exhibition is named "My Everyday Life", mainly featuring Scribouille, a homeless puppet . The French artist, by the name Dran, is known for his cynically corrosive viewpoint, which he portrays in his artwork. His work is dark, however comical & reflects on what he thinks of the capitalist world that we live in. His work varies from taxidermy animals to delicate, intricate pencil drawings. Often the images seem harmless & show a normal scene, however if you look closer there is always a cynical twist to the art.

A lot of his pencil drawn work is canvassed on cardboard boxes; the images drawn always relate to the text already on the box

Below is an example of his taxidermy work; a badger wearing a Mexican Wrestling mask

The exhibition allowed visitors to commit their own "graffiti" acts by providing pens around the space for people to use & make their mark

The most controversial of all the pieces at this exhibition was by Mark Sinckler, a former 'tube graffiti vandal' . The artist has created a painting, titled 'The Age of Shiva', which incorporates renaissance-style angels flying out of the wreckage of the bus blown up in the London 7/7 bombings. Obviously this image has drawn a huge amount of attention, mainly negative, due to the hugely controversial issues that lie within it. Sinckler made these comments about his painting:
"What I'm trying to do is to make anyone that has a faith, a belief, or an idea they hold close to their heart to think about the impact of these ideas when they leave their heads. I wanted to jolt people into seeing the results of these thoughts put into action."
(BBC News article) Banksy, who is not adverse to a little controversy himself, has made comment on the painting also: "People enjoy shopping more than they enjoy art. So it makes sense to try and disguise your gallery as a home furnishings store. It is a chance for the public to see some less-refined culture after they’ve finished browsing Soho’s adult bookshops". (Sky News article)All in all this was a very interesting exhibition; set in a derelict former shop in Soho, adding further character to the already intriguing & controversial exhibition.

Here is a video of the exhibition's Private Viewing evening:

Marks & Stencils Private View from Butterfly on Vimeo.

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