Three Significant Artworks by Banksy

Olivia Drage, October 30, 2018

Inspired by the recent event at Sotheby’s, I felt it fitting to devote my latest blog to the work of Banksy; a famous street artist whose identity has always been a subject of mystery and speculation. Despite obscuring his (or her) identity, Banksy has become well known not just within the art industry but on a global scale for his creative, ingenious and often controversial graffiti. He fascinates the public in his use of street art, which comments on and raises questions about modern society. I have selected my top 3 jaw-dropping Banksy works, which in my opinion, have considerably impacted society and pushed the boundaries of the art world and art classification over the last two decades…

2005 – The Peckham Rock

In 2005, Banksy snuck an artwork into the British Museum and managed to install it onto a wall along with the genuine exhibits.  Remarkably, it remained unnoticed for three days before it was brought to the museum’s attention. The artwork was a fabricated ancient rock (a modern-day lump of concrete) on which Banksy carved a caveman pushing a shopping trolley. This comical artefact was accompanied by an information label further fooling viewers.  Banksy’s audacity initially shocked and frustrated the museum which demanded the piece be removed, however, they recently requested the work back to be legitimately exhibited within Ian Hislop’s exhibition.

2014 – Mobile Lovers

Mobile Lovers is another example of Banksy using his artwork to make a statement. Depicted outside a youth club, it shows a monochromatic man and a woman standing in a doorway with their arms intertwined. At first glance at their illuminated faces it appears they are about to kiss, however upon closer inspection we can see that their focus is not on each other but their mobile phones; thus, highlighting our obsession and fixation with modern-day technology. Banksy gifted the work to the youth club, explaining that he was aware of its financial problems and the piece was subsequently sold for over £400,000. Whoever Bansky is, he or she appears to be a vandal with a heart.  

2018 – Love in Bin

As you may have predicted, my final example is Banksy’s Love in Bin, formerly known as Girl with Balloon. This artwork shocked the nation as it self-destructed at a Sotheby’s evening auction this October, creating what the auction house described as “instant art world history”.  If you haven’t already heard what all the fuss is about (where have you been?) … The artwork (previously depicting a girl reaching out for a red balloon) was up for auction for $1.4 million. However, at the point of sale the well-known piece suddenly slipped through its frame into a hidden, inbuilt shredder!

Initial shock and panic erupted with Sotheby’s colleagues unsure as to whether the sale was valid… Later, upon reflection the auction house has decided that Banksy did not destroy an art work, he created a new one. With this unbelievable spectacle of ruin, Banksy has produced the first work to be created live at auction. The buyer was far from disappointed with their purchase, after its apparent increase in value. There is much speculation surrounding this ‘Sotheby’s scandal’ as to who was involved (was Sotheby’s in on it)?. This has been a hot topic of debate for Alchemy’s Fine Art team (we love a conspiracy theory)! Whoever is responsible they are undeniably ingenious.  

What will Banksy do next?

For an individual who ensures their identity is hidden from society, Banksy has one of the largest creative influences in the art world in the present day; an influence which has arguably outgrown the art world to make Banksy an icon of British popular culture. With his (or her) work soon to be exhibited at the British Museum, it is apparent that Banksy’s social presence will only increase. I am sure we are all curious about what Banksy’s next endeavour will be and where it might take place? Your guess is as good as mine!

Written by Olivia Drage - Recruitment Resourcer at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd

Posted in categories: Auctions, Contemporary Art, Events, Fine Art, Museums
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