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    An early show of the exhibition of English street artist Banksy at the Central House of Artist

    Knowing Banksy's Identity Would Take Away Mystery Behind His Art – Expo Director

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    A large display of works by the world's most famous - and most mysterious - British street artist Banksy has opened in Moscow. The exhibition - the first ever in Russia - features more than a hundred pieces. It includes Banksy's works, 3D-objects, prints, photographs and a multimedia show.

    Some of Banksy's most well-known pieces, including a portrait of Mona Lisa armed with a portable rocket launcher and prints featuring supermodel Kate Moss, have reportedly been ensured for 10 million pounds. The exhibition in Moscow runs through September 2nd.

    Radio Sputnik talked about Banksy and the first ever display of his work in Moscow with Alexander Nachkebia, the director of the exhibition.

    Sputnik: Could you give us a bit of insight into the significance of this exhibition and why it was only now that you were able to organize this?

    Alexander Nachkebia: I think that it's very important that we present this exhibition in Russia at this particular time. We all see how the political atmosphere all around the world is being heated and how easy barriers grow up for us day by day. Without taking sides, I think it's very important for Russians to feel themselves as part of Europe and the world community. So in this sense, I think that our exhibition is a very significant and important event in the cultural life of Russia, not only Moscow but the whole of Russia. And I also think that the fact that the Banksy exhibition is taking place in Moscow will be a good signal for the countries around Russia. That Russia is a member of the European family because very few capitals in the world, in Europe can boast that they hosted a Banksy exhibition. And although I know that many would like to do so. So I'm very happy to contribute to strengthening the image of Moscow and Russia as one of the capitals of the art world and especially contemporary art.

    An early show of the exhibition of English street artist Banksy at the Central House of Artist
    © Sputnik / Sergey Pyatakov
    An early show of the exhibition of English street artist Banksy at the Central House of Artist

    Sputnik: There seems to be quite a lot of public interest, large lines. What's been the public response? Are you happy with this as much as you expected it to be?

    Alexander Nachkebia: Yes, we're very happy as you have seen yesterday and the day before yesterday there was a big line to the exhibition. It shows that Banksy's art is really comprehensive and he really uses very clean, very understandable images that touch the hearts and souls of all people. And that's why people respond to it in that way. We are very happy with the number of people that are coming to the exhibition at this time.

    Sputnik: Can you perhaps give us some insight into the number of works that you have displayed. How many of those works are actually originals that exist in a single example? Because a lot of things that Banksy made have quite a bit of…some prints that have perhaps one thousand copies and you have just one of them. Tell us about what was on exhibit.

    Alexander Nachkebia: We have a collection of more than sixty pieces by Banksy out of which we have 25 one of a kind which is a very very good collection. A lot of people were asking me why don't we have the wall pieces in our collection. Very few of those wall pieces are confirmed to be originals. When we were forming the collection it was important to us that we take only those pieces which are certified and authenticated by Banksy's company which is giving certificates of origin to his works. So we have 25 one of a kind, we have more than 40 rare prints, but I won't say that the prints are less precious than the one of a kind. For example, we have a collection of six prints of Banksy Kate Moss and the insurance value of this collection is 600,000 pounds, because each of those prints was issued by a limited edition of 20 and we have all the six prints are numbered and as a collection, they are very-very valuable. 

    Sputnik: Is this an exhibition where you're able to purchase any of the items? I mean are any of the items for sale?

    Alexander Nachkebia: No, at this time no. After the exhibition we will leave Russia, there will be an opportunity for the collectors from Russia to purchase some of the items, but until the collection leaves Russia, no. We have a lot of obligational documents that we have signed that the collection comes to Russia and leaves Russia as it was formed in London.

    Sputnik: How long will the exhibition be continuing in Moscow at the Central House of Artists?

    Alexander Nachkebia: In the Central House of Artists the exhibition will stay here until the 2nd  of September. That will be the last day of the exhibition working in Moscow. Then the exhibition goes to St. Petersburg for a couple of months and will stay there until the 4th of November. Then it leaves Russia and goes to several European cities.

    Sputnik: So, it will we be going to European cities as well, the same collection, is that correct?

    Alexander Nachkebia: Yes, the same collection, the same production will go to Italy, to Spain, to Paris, to France, and it will go to Belgium after Russia.

    A visitor during an early show of the exhibition of English street artist Banksy at the Central House of Artist
    © Sputnik / Sergey Pyatakov
    A visitor during an early show of the exhibition of English street artist Banksy at the Central House of Artist

    Sputnik: You worked with Banksy's team on this project. Have you managed to get any ideas who might be behind Banksy personality?

    Alexander Nachkebia: We didn't work with Banksy's team, because the fact is that Banksy never supports exhibition projects that are not organized by himself. Moreover, he publically condemns these projects, he never supports, because he believes that his art should be free for the people. But on the other hand, we all know how much his pieces are on the market and visitors cannot wait until Banksy's exhibition projects will reach Russia. So we were dealing with the collectors who bought his pieces a while ago and we have the right to give these pieces to the exhibition collection and museum collections. As for Banksy's identity, there are many serious investigations about that, I don't know who he is and I wouldn't want to know who he is because that would take the mystery away. At this time we are all waiting for his drawings to appear here and there and if we all know who he is then his stuff would be visible and predictable and that would take a big part of what is Banksy to all of us, it will take a big part of it away from us. 

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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