Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sex in a stencil


Before we start, let me dismiss any notions you may have of my artistic, creative or (heaven forbid )authentic license to comment on anything. And at the top of the list must be anything deemed edgy. A word I find ironic, in an Alanis Morrissette 'ironic' way. Because in my view (please refer to line one of this paragraph), it is usually the people that think themselves 'edgy' that are anything but. They rage against the system sticking it to The Man, but not before stopping in for shampoo at Aveda and streetwear at Carhartt.

The later which, by the way, is synonomous with hard wearing clothes in the US (think Brokeback Mountain). American Carhartt wearers hang out at Rodeos and Nascar races, London ones at the White Cube Gallery and the Tate Modern Bookshop. Go figure.

But, all of this has digressed from the the Banksy stencil that is fuelling debate today in Bristol. In the past Banksy has sneaked his work into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Musuem, even the controversial wall that separates Israel and Palestine. But this time he sneaks it on the side of a non descript sexual health clinic in Bristol and the town is up in arms.

I was first surprised that the image could be deemed offensive to one's sensibilities, rather than attractive to one's faculties. The classic Banksy style was unmistakable as he turned a cheeky image into a statement of our time by first showing an image of devious sexual behaviour and then by choosing to place it on the side of a sexual health clinic building. Now that is true irony, Alanis!

The image is open to any number of interpretations. On first glance, it reminded me of all the films where people end up hanging off ledges, which led me to King Kong, which led me to I Love Lucy (c'mon stay with me) and how that must have been the best show ever on television. But Lucille Ball's humour was a timeless art form, Banksy's a most fleeting one.

And then I became overfilled with emotion - not for thoughts the image could have provoked about the bereft state of modern marriages or for all the victims of love triangles hanging off the ledges this very minute. No, I felt sad that this significant piece of public art could just easily be washed away at a small cost to the local council.

So, instead I comforted myself that at least I had some tangible tribute to Banksy in the form of a lovely book with the best of his work - old and new.

Liz's far from edgy recommendation:

Wall and Piece by Banksy, £11.80 from Amazon

It probably subverts Banksy's smashing of middle class complacent attitudes by recommending it as a very hip coffee table book (even if you don't live in a loft). Or for the selfless, as a great gift idea for anyone interested in art, or cities, or politics, or the world; or who simply thinks that they are fab, cool, edgy and counter cultural.

As of today, the ICA did have copies. I imagine the larger Waterstone and Borders branches will as well.

7 Comments:

Blogger hofzinser said...

I think it is brilliant. Never seen his work before but I love it.

6:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cool painting could you arrange to get one painted on the side of my house please? keep up the good work xxx annabel xxx

5:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it looks like she almost did a good spying job on her boyfriend but may not get the last laugh if she falls off the ledge.Monica New York xx

3:50 pm  
Blogger ems said...

Fantastic! I was pointing out some of his stuff in Kings Cross last night.

7:48 pm  
Anonymous max said...

i love banksy. but i prefer barley.

10:36 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the Banksy sighting/picture! I spent one of my(few)days in London looking for one...but alas, he remained elusive. But I find joy in the possibility I may have spoken to him when I asked a 30-something chap where I might find a street Banksy. He said, "I don't know...I think that is part of the experience of his art: you just have to kind of stumble across it."

10:52 pm  
Blogger hungech said...

A stencil is a thin sheet of material, such as paper, plastic, or metal, with letters or a design cut from it, used to produce the letters or design on an underlying surface by applying pigment through the cut-out holes in the material. The key advantage of a stencil is that it can be reused to repeatedly and rapidly produce the same letters or design. The design produced with a stencil is also called a stencil. The context in which stencil is used makes clear which meaning is intended. Although aerosol or painting stencils can be made for one-time use, typically they are made to be reusable. To be reusable, they must remain intact after a design is produced and the stencil is removed from the work surface. With some designs, this is done by connecting stencil islands (sections of material that are inside cut-out "holes" in the stencil) to other parts of the stencil with bridges (narrow sections of material that are not cut out).
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5:53 am  

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