I know I’m yet to tell you more about my recent trip to Florida, but I was too excited not to share this post with you immediately!
Unless you’ve had your head under a rock this past week or so, you’ll have seen that Banksy has once again been causing mischief around the country. This time, his art has brought him to the small seaside resort of Weston-Super-Mare in north Somerset. Familiar to me, having frequented the town as a kid for fish and chips and rides on the pier’s dodgems, it’s fair to say it was a bit of a surprise to see Banksy and other artists set up shop in the resort’s Tropicana grounds – all in the name of art.
Let me introduce you to ‘Dismaland‘ – a self proclaimed ‘fairground that embraces brutality and low level criminality’, welcome to all except ‘legal representatives of the Walt Disney Corporation’. Oh Banksy, you know how to tickle us…
Fancy a look around? Oh, go on then.
You start by collecting your stamp, before queueing for the security process. All of which, of course, is intended to test the model of modern day consumerism from the likes of Disneyland.
Even the weather was fitting for the establishment!
In keeping with the mood, staff were suitably miserable. And you just couldn’t help but laugh!
Demanding visitors to ‘get over there’, they scrupulously pointed and glared whilst guiding us through a mock security procedure. With my sunglasses perched on top of my head, I was told to put them back on, so that they could ‘see me better’. Pure genius!
Our first view of the bemusement park was pretty much a barren wasteland.
With staff who were overjoyed to help. Purchasing a souvenir programme, we were grunted at and tossed a copy.
We peered into a darkened room to explore some of the artists’ exhibits.
Some powerful words from Jenny Holzer…
Before an interesting mish-mash of plant pots and ready meal packaging in a display from Caroline McCarthy, in a depiction of art that challenges traditional perceptions.
In the same room, we discovered an upside-down foetus in a vending machine, stamped with logos. A very clever depiction of the artificial production of mankind, and its influence by brands and consumerism.
I just loved this work by Damien Hirst – a beach ball just floating vulnerably over a plethora of knife blades.
In fact, I liked pretty much all of the work!
You can really see the dystopic visions of the artists, can’t you!?
This huge mushroom cloud is the work of Australia’s Dietrich Wegner. About this piece, Wegner says: ‘The ephemeral beautiful of a mushroom cloud is frightening, how it floats for a minute, delicate and blooming, yet remains chaotic and utterly destructive. We experience a contradiction between what our eyes enjoy and what our mind knows’.
I felt like much of the exhibition gave me a similar feeling – enjoying the aesthetic of the art, but disturbed by the powerful, destructive messages.
More and more of the works exhibited the damaging nature of humanity.
As well as the connotations of cloning associated with the mice below, I couldn’t help but think of the work carried out by the communications department of the government, closely linked to a recent Banksy piece created in Cheltenham.
This next piece was one of my favourites…
A miniature ‘toy town’ which aims to depict an ‘entire town frozen in the moments just after a huge period of civil unrest’. Spectators can see 3000 tiny riot police, showing various different scenes of conflict.
Upon leaving the indoor section of the park, you’re treated to more chaos outside.
And plenty of political commentary, of course!
The guests are just as happy as the staff…
The stormy weather complemented the exhibition perfectly – a mishmash of beauty through the rainbow which stretched across the park, against stormy and destructive skies.
Just look at that beautiful sky!
Certainly one of the best – and most eye-opening – exhibitions I have ever been to.
I hope you all get to visit – the exhibition ends on September 27th and there are even some scheduled performances by acts including Massive Attack. If it’s good enough for Brad Pitt to visit, it’s good enough for you!