Banks Violettethe bees made honey in the lion's skull (2005-2023)
From February 10 to May 5 2024, US artist Banks Violette is occupying all the BPS22 galleries with a major exhibition marking the grand return of this (former) enfant terrible of the contemporary art world. Some forty historical works, including monumental installations, rub shoulders with his new creations recently produced in collaboration with the well-known fashion house Celine.
Banks Violette (1973) was born, lives and works in Ithaca, known for its salt mines, in the north of New York State. After his first job as a tattoo artist in Hawaii, he studied art in New York and became known in the early 2000s for his artwork and vast installations, often reminiscent of performance spaces or the theatre. Drawing his inspiration from the dark side of teenage sub-cultures, mainly black metal, gothic and post-punk, he is now one of the best-known artists in the world.
He left New York and the arts scene in 2014 and returned to Ithaca to free himself from successive cycles of heroin use and withdrawal. After a few years working with graphite on paper, he has now returned to monumental sculpture and is exhibiting 14 new works that evoke dangling or, according to him, ‘collapsing’ chandeliers in several of the Celine fashion house stores: New York, Paris, London, Milan, etc. These new creations, are designed by the artist as self-portraits – this thing collapsing in a corner and passing out according to Banks Violette.
The artwork of Banks Violette displays great coherence. He essentially creates all his pieces from metal, mirrors, salt-covered objects, black screens and white, fluorescent tubes. The artist employs a constant aesthetic contrast between black and white and this contrast finds a particular resonance in the thirty or so exhibited works: between noise and silence, presence and absence, gothic romanticism and minimalism.
Behind the highly formal aspects of the work can be glimpsed the darkest sides of American society. Because, instead of reaching for an objective representation of the facts, the artist conjures up the imagery inherent in American popular culture and contemporary sub-cultures to create novel aesthetic experiences. Nowhere is this more apparent than with metal culture (heavy metal, death metal, doom, drone, etc.), where he rescues its aesthetic potential and reproduces it on a personal scale in several large installations.
The works of Banks Violette that occupy the entire museum emerge as the new dark and anguished expression of a radical social critique.
Exhibition dates: 10 February to 5 April 2024
Opening on 9 February 2024 at 7:00 p.m.