Welcome to a land of depression – iconic street art artist Banksy opened Disneyland backward. With a star of graffiti art, Banksy, you won’t get bored! His new project in 2015, fireworks of misanthropy and depression, “blew up” the provincial Weston Super Mare in England. The artist turned an abandoned swimming pool “Tropicana” into Mordor, inhabiting it with dead Cinderella, burnt locks, upside-down carriages.
58 artists worked on the new version of “Tropicana”. Damien Hirst with his fairytale unicorn in formalin also joined their line.
At the “festival of art, turmoil and primitive anarchism” there was no place for sounding laughing. Grumpy animators and gloomy sellers of bright pink balloons with the inscription “Am I crazy”? Yes, there’s no need to hide your own sociopathy and resentment for life. On the contrary – complain, be sad, because the world is going to hell! If Dismaland hadn’t made up Banksy, Chuck Palannik would have described him in his novel. Or maybe Banksy the mystifier would be dressed as a service worker? The circus is here, the clowns are depressed!
The official brochure described this place as follows: “Are you looking for an alternative to soulless lame banality? Or do you just need something cheaper? Then this place is for you: a chaotic, new world where you can get rid of meaningless escapism. Instead of a burger stand, we have a museum. Instead of souvenir shops, we have a library. Although we do have a souvenir shop, too… There will be adult themes, disturbing images, lots of strobe lighting, smoke effects, and swearing. It is strictly forbidden: knives, sprays, illegal drugs and lawyers of Walt Disney Corporation”.
In all the months that Dismaland was being built, Banksy again managed to stay out of the public eye. About 50 other artists worked on the project, including Damien Hirst, Bill Barminski, Espo, Jenny Holzer, and Polly Morgan. They were kept in touch only with Facebook. But with his hand on the heart, Banksy could have avoided the torment of conspiracy and famous names.
The service personnel recruited at Dismaland deserve special attention. All British media in one voice admired the excellent acting: “They do not smile! If you ask me, they’re just gonna say something!”
Within hours of the press release about the grand opening of Dismaland, media teams arrived in the city from a camp outside of pre-filled Dismaland. Dismaland Banksy attracted 200,000 visitors in 36 days, more than V & A Alexander McQueen and Matisse’s show at Tate the same year.
The high demand for tickets caused the Dismaland website to fall repeatedly. Some have wondered whether this was deliberately set up by Banksy as part of the irony of Dismaland.
Shortly after the installation and within months of being removed, Dismaland was just another spectacle that took place on a map of the art world. The works were taken out and brought to private buyers or alternative exhibitions, and Banksy’s 15-foot banner continues to hang under the burning sun.