Layer House in Kranj, not far from Ljubljana, was having a Banksy Exhibition entitled “Banksy, Thanxs 4 Flowers”. Michele loves the political statements Banksy’s art makes so was really looking forward to it.
Banksy Thnx 4 Flowers to be precise is what the sign read but Banksy thnx for the rip off is what the sign should’ve read. Yes, we were excited about a Bansky Exhibition in Kranj. The Tourist Information and the Graffiti Tour yesterday had been talking up the exhibition and Michele was keen too We read the online description on the Layer House website which should’ve rung alarm bells as it was full of artistic double speak and lofty poetic mumbo jumbo.
After handing over our €6 we discovered that the exhibition was all hype with not much substance. The whole Banksy, Thank You For The Flowers exhibition was contained upstairs at the arts centre within three rooms. There was also a hallway included in the exhibition which contained additional pieces by other artists using multi media.
Around the room were prints of the more popular Banksy pieces including “Love Rat”, “Golf Sale”, and “Exit through the Gift Shop”. Supposedly Banksy doesn’t sell prints of his street art but the Layer House was certainly making a profit off it.
Now Banksy may be described on their website as “the King of Urban Art” and a “Guerrilla Sprayer” giving him almost saintlike qualities but like the rest of us he has to make money. Included in the exhibition was a display of his commercial work including CD covers which he’d made different bands. There were also posters advertising different Banksy works. It was almost like they raided a local market stall of all it’s Banksy memorabilia.
In another bit of shameless exploitation they were even selling Banksy kits at the cashier. For about €20 you could take home a bag containing a pencil, a stencil and a spray can. Really?
The only redeeming feature of the whole Banksy, Thank You For The Flowers exhibition was a movie being shown in the hallway. It was a short documentary on a mad taxi driver in Gaza who cut the graffiti work of Banksy out of the walls and sold it. He was as mad as a box of frogs and the documentary was overflowing with narcissism. However, quite compelling to watch. A bit like a train wreck in slow motion. Maybe it was his total disregard for the artistic Rules of Fair Play is what was so compelling.
As we had obviously lingered too long in the three rooms and hallway we were soon joined by the attendant who subtly shepherded us towards the door. On our way down the stairs we spotted the advertisement for another Banksy exhibition. It was the film Banksy in Gaza being shown at Stolovec Tower, for an extra fee. After the Layer House exhibition we were over art exhibitions…..I think next time we want to see shameless exploitation of art we’ll go down to the local markets.
On a brighter note Kranj has a vibrant youth culture and as such has lots of street and graffiti artists. There’s no big names amongst them but we were able to discover quite a lot of great street art. Kranj is a great place to visit with a beautiful old section with cobbled streets and lovely old buildings. It also has some modern buildings which are well worth seeing. The highlight of the day was actually finding all this fabulous art where it belongs, on the street.
Tomorrow we leave Slovenia and head to Austria.
Banksy Exhibiton Details