Bansky, the street art star, after a long (and a bit suspicious) silence of almost two months, returns to show up: on his Instagram profile – followed by over 7 and a half million people around the world – published last night a series of photos, 5 to be exact, accompanied by a brief comment: my wife hates it when I work from home, my wife hates when I work from home.
A gallery follows which has its protagonists rats, the undergrounds rats used since his early works: here they are a small and messy bathroom while unrolling toilet paper, climb on the shower, badly squeeze the toothpaste (messing around), pee (out of the toilet). There is also a mirror where, if you pay attention, a mouse caught in the act is reflected next to some red marks on the wall. Is it Banksy?
That Banksy would come sooner or later expressed on the consequences of the pandemic, we were sure of it: in recent years it has never failed to take a position on the most important socio-political issues. As we stand here still wondering who exactly he is – he really is one of the members of the Massive Attack? Or, as many suppose, is it now a collective of artists? (Here the first e more complete exhibition dedicated to him in our country) – he chooses to illustrate in his own way the quarantine and the effects of the smartworking, as the reference to “work” suggests in the caption to the photos.
He could have concentrated on the virus or made easy irony about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the thousand hesitations and mistakes our politicians and scientists have slipped on, and instead Banksy has chosen a domestic cut. Its interior-bathroom, so dirty, messy, entropic (but basically i rats they enjoy putting everything in turmoil …) is one sarcastic reflection on the living and working conditions in which so many people find themselves, for many weeks now, all over the world. A smartworking that is anything but smart …
Hilarious comments (we vote for what it says «the way the bathroom is tanned, we have proof that Bansky is a man»). Over a million and seven hundred thousand people have “knitted”, a few hours from the post, the image: will the Quarantine Banksy remain one of its great classics?
If you have longed for the truest Banksy, capable of forever transforming an anonymous city wall into a work of art, you can always make a virtual tour on the platform Artsandculture of Google. One of the most popular routes is the one that follows its tracks with Street View in 12 stages. The mechanism is simple: click on the image and move the cursor. The feeling, net of the “crisp” photo in which people and things are fixed in the same instant in which they were immortalized, is to be really on the street in front to the most iconic murals of the street artist.
It starts from London, at number 58 in Kinightsbridge where four years ago, in January 2016, Banksy quotes (in his own way, of course), Les Miserables to denounce the use of tear gas against refugees in the port of Calais. A criticism of the Paris government, really under the windows of the French embassy in the UK. Typical.
The tour continues, but we move to Mayfair where you can see one of the best preserved murals, the so-called Falling Shopper, which portrays in Bruton Lane a woman who falls to the ground clinging to the shopping cart: a critique of mass consumption made by the street artist in broad daylight, with theploy of a scaffold, in November 2011. It is about one of his best preserved public works: it is 7 meters high, it is difficult to smear it.
Banksy’s Valentine’s Day mural
© Finnbarr Webster
Always London, but a little outside: we are in Stoke Newington, 8 km from Charing Cross. Here in 2009 an ironic The Royal Family appears on the facade of a house. You can see it from Street View (a little bias, to be honest) and it is fortunate, given that the graffiti had been vandalized. This is thanks to the local community, which has fought to preserve it, if it is still standing.
Another London murals by Banksy are less visible (you have to look where the green cross of the pharmacy is): Very Little HelpYes, the one with three children playing near a pole with a Tesco bag (known superstore chain) as a flag, is located on Essex Road, north London.
Proceeding on Street view you can see another couple of murals by Banksy, but those more suggestive (not forgetting recent work a Birmingham, which is poignant) that have been immortalized forever by the “satellite brain” found in Bristol, declared birthplace of the artist.
Among the many, we have chosen two. Cat and Dog because it is colorful and so different from the usual Banksy we know. It is located on a wall in a residential area, on the corner of Robertson road and Foster Street, and it dates back to the early nineties, when Banksy was certainly not the media phenomenon it is today. Nice that Bristol retains, in a way, the flavor of its first steps, when the street art he was definitely kept away from the market.
We close the tour by moving with Street View to the city Marina in the Albion Doks area: here, in Hanover Place, since autumn 2014, a surprise appears parody of the Girl with a pearl earring by Vermeer. Banksy perfectly reproduces his face and gaze, then he enjoys using a yellow alarm against vandals instead of the precious earring painted by the Dutch master. A game, that of exploiting urban elements to be included in the works, which he often does.
We have so The girl with the pierced eardrum, a girl with large-format tympanum piercing, who observes and interrogates us, from the anonymous corner of a port area of a gray English city: where are we going? What are we really looking for?
The girl with the pierced eardrum, Banksy
© GEOFF CADDICK