Andipa Gallery Presents: Banksy/War Boutique (London, UK)


brooklyn-street-art-banksy-andipa-galleryWar Boutique “Metropolitan Peace” (image courtesy of the gallery)

It has been an eventful 6 months for renowned street artist Banksy. His highly contentious opening sequence for popular TV series The Simpsons an Oscar nomination for his documentary film Exit Through The Gift Shop – an event accompanied by the artist’s own unofficial awards campaign where his works mysteriously appeared on billboards and walls across Los Angeles. As well as the ever-present threats to expose his carefully guarded identity.   Banksy’s continuing high profile has brought with it an explosion in international demand for his work. In response Andipa Gallery is pleased to announce BANKSY | WAR BOUTIQUE, an exhibition showcasing an un-paralleled collection of iconic and sought after paintings by Banksy, from the collection of Andipa Gallery, one of the largest in the UK.     Original works on display will include Banksy’s Laugh Now, a unique painting depicting one of the artist’s emblematic monkeys, scaled-up to human size, set upon the panels of a wooden door. A rare work that succeeds in projecting all of the character and raw charisma of a street piece despite being a fully authenticated studio work. Girl with Balloon, one of Banksy’s most iconic images, which infamously appeared on the Palestinian side of the West Bank Barrier, and Custardised Oil, a work of satirical humour distorting traditional aristocratic imagery.   Acoris Andipa, Director of Andipa Gallery, comments:   “As the first gallery to put on a major exhibition of Banksy’s work on the secondary market, which attracted 25,000 visitors, we have witnessed the market for urban art continuing to expand and integrate into the mainstream. Works by urban artists are now beginning to be included in the collections of the most respected museums and public galleries worldwide, including MOCA, LA, who plan to put on the first major survey of street art to be shown in the US later this year. BANKSY | WAR BOUTIQUE will present an exciting opportunity for collectors to acquire original works by two mavericks of urban art – one just emerging onto the international stage, choosing to put on his first commercial exhibition at Andipa, and one already recognised as amongst the biggest names in contemporary art today.”   Showing at Andipa Gallery from 9 June to Saturday 9 July 2011, in parallel with an exhibition of works by urban artist War Boutique, the exhibition BANKSY | WAR BOUTIQUE follows Andipa Gallery’s, recent exhibition of original works by Banksy in Gstaad, Switzerland. An annual show which attracted the highest number of attendees to date, from Geneva, Zurich and beyond, further illustrating Banksy’s internationally acclaimed position.   WAR BOUTIQUE | LOWER GROUND FLOOR GALLERY
From a rebellious youth growing up in Glasgow to the fractious student captured in the BBC 4 documentary: Goldsmiths: But Is It Art? to a ballistics expert with government security clearance but most importantly an artist, War Boutique’s work is as much about transformation as his life. Re-modeling the fabrics of war into installations for peace, the artist’s passion for textiles took him beyond his everyday work and into the realms of wearable art… with a cause. War Boutique’s textiles of choice are Kevlar and Dyneema designed to resist bullets; his form is the flak jacket emblazoned with Metropolitan Peace or the fully armoured chalk-stripe suit for the City Gent Soldier.   The artist known as War Boutique has provided his work for photo-shoots with the late Alexander McQueen CBE as well as collaborating with the royal and military tailor, Gieves & Hawkes, to create City Gent Soldier. He has also provided artwork for some of the most renowned contemporary artists including the infamous street artist Banksy for his controversial Banksy Versus Bristol Museum show and YBA Sarah Lucas.   Working for a body armour company on obtaining his degree in Textiles and Fashion Design, he has designed armour and uniforms from fabrics specially formulated for military use or the British, Egyptian, Indian, Pakistani and Algerian armies, as well as the Metropolitan Police, Italian Carabinieri and Mexico City Police.   The arresting symbolic potential of these textiles led War Boutique to requisition and recycle uniforms, military and ballistic materials and use them in his art, to alert us to the creeping militarisation of our society, encourage us to work towards peace and remind us of our duty to realise this.
The Peace Pods, which have hung from trees and rafters from Tate Modern, Tate Britain, British Museum and Regent’s Park are places of respite for people to enter and feel and make peace. Designed so that its essential for the individuals inside to cooperate peacefully to avoid the destabilisation of the pod and inspired by the form of crinoline (a skirt stiffened with hoops used by courtly ladies) these works provoke us to question the necessity of war and to explore ways of experiencing peace. Commissioned by Gieves & Hawkes, City Gent Soldier (2005) wears a perfectly tailored suit using the finest Gieves & Hawkes cloth cut and sewn by their finest military tailors which functions as a fully protective bullet proof garment. It is the contemporary embodiment of the metaphorical ‘armour of God’ needed to stand firm against the villainous violence of today’s world. The City Gent’s accouterments are the breastplate of righteousness: a ballistic chest plate; the shield of faith: a ballistic briefcase; the sword of the spirit: an umbrella sword and the shoes for the gospel of peace: Special Forces boots.   He has also produced child sized stab vests, for the Bak 2 Skool project – a reaction to child stabbings in Peckam – that when displayed in his carefully created mock-up of a Peckham shop front attracted swarms of parents from the local area requesting anti-stab vests to protect their children for the new school term. A sign of the times.   Using textiles bullet proof ceramics, shells and bomb blankets as the conduit to express his ideas, “War Boutique symbolically transforms instruments of war and destruction into constructive items embodying creativity, peace and critical social commentary.” Society for Contemporary Craft.

Exhibition information

Exhibition Dates: 9 June to 9 July 2011
Private View 6.00pm to 9.00pm 8 June 2011

Opening Times: Monday to Friday 9:30am – 6.00pm, Saturday 11.00am – 6.00pm
Andipa Gallery, 162 Walton Street, London, SW3 2JL Tel: 020 7589 2371 /
Closest tube stations: Knightsbridge and South Kensington