Exhibition on Banksy continues to travel through France

An art exhibition by and about the famously anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy has come to Chartres (Eure-et-Loir), south of Paris, as the current tour makes its eighth stop.

The free display opened on Saturday, September 9 at art and agricultural museum COMPA, and will run until September 22, from 11:00 to 19:00 everyday. A total of 300 works that ‘pay homage’ to the famous graffiti and street artist will be on show.

The event also invites people to donate to local associations that align with Banksy’s values.

The exhibition will include artwork and objects collected by jobbing actor and now collector François Berardino (known in the art world as Béru) since 2007.

The collection began after Béru accidentally crossed paths with Banksy without knowing. He said: “I met him in the street and he invited me into his studio. We had a chat, and when he left he gave me two drawings in small format,” says the collector.

It was only on his return to France, when he came across a book entitled ‘Wall and Piece’ by Banksy, that the young actor realised he had met the world-famous artist. Since then Béru has been collecting anything he can find at affordable prices (around €100-€400).

Among the objects on display are screen prints including Woman with a Balloon, and a piece for Blur’s ‘Think Tank’ album (designed in 2003). 

There is also a collection of documents from exhibitions at the British Museum in London, and the artist’s first-ever show in Glasgow, Scotland.

“When you look at an image by Banksy, there are several levels of interpretation,” said the exhibition’s curator to Le Parisien. “It makes you think, it brings you face to face with yourself, but it never tells you how to think.”

The exhibition was first set up in Grigny (Essonne) in July 2021, and has attracted 141,435 visitors since then. More than €190,000 from visitor donations have been given to local charities and the organisations that helped to bring the show to life. 

“We had no idea just how big the show would get,” said Sophie Ursella, head of communications for the exhibition.

In Chartres, which is the show’s eighth stop, 12 associations will be taking part, including organisations that help undocumented workers, fight against racism, and help low-income families and refugees in need.

Visitors are invited to make a donation when they enter. “Banksy has an official website on which he denounces exhibitions he doesn’t agree with,” said Ms Ursella. “Ours isn’t on it. So I see that as a kind of tacit support.”

Banksy artwork has been seen in France, including a work in Paris that was controversially stolen.

Read also

New artworks by street artist Banksy found in Paris
Street art: Before Banksy there was Blek le Rat 
‘Banksy’ war art is actually by French brasserie owner 
Property owner paints over Banksy street art

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