Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Under the carpet

Banksy spottings in London always seem to make the hairs of hipsters stand up straight. Banksy being London's most famed "guerrilla" graffiti stencil artist. A man both media shy, and Hoxton friendly.

For those who missed the recently controversal Bristol stencil, here we have a large spray-painted image in north London's Camden Town (directly opposite the tube entrance to Chalk Farm Road station).

And, for the majority of us, a Banksy sighting affords an instant yet ephemeral ticket to join the conversation of the duly artistic and duly 'right-on' set of London's urban cultural life. And that is not meant as a put down, a show down or come down. Rather, a moment of collective appreciation.

Okay, with that over. Who would like to come out with their interpretation of Banksy's latest (a copy of which is also rumoured to be found on Hoxton Square). Not many takers, eh?

Well here goes an apprentice opinion. As much as I know of Banksy is limited to the knowledge that he oft deals in power relationships. As such, I feel compelled to give this maid the upper hand in the stencils's dynamic. And as this stencil is on the north side of the newly refurbished Roundhouse Theatre, I would suggest that Banksy was making a statement about the labour (under-valued, under-paid) that went into refurbishing the theatre for the enjoyment of the priveleged London chattering classes. The irony being that of power introverted, of the subjected class acting out its own retribution of sorts.

The maid, as object here of the working class (Marx, sorry didn't mean to stir you), is having her own back by sweeping the dirt of her presumed master under the carpet. And therein would lie a classic Banksy lesson, or sorry it was originally from a more divine (albeit less contemporary) source: 'Do unto others and you would have them do unto you'.

And this is why Banksy is genius. His art transmutes, reputes, and refutes convention. Quite fitting for the side of a theatre, really. Most especially one in Camden. Let's just hope the Council thinks as we do.

And whilst in Camden, if transmutation is your thing:

Check out Fuerzabruta (from the producers of De La Guarda) at the Roundhouse Theatre, Regents Park Road, NW1. A night of mad Argentian performance acrobatics. The 65-minute evening starts with a man running furiously on a speeding treadmill: as doors and walls come hurtling towards him, he bursts stoically through them. And this, with various mutations and sporadic entrances of scantily clad women, remains the consistent theme throughout.

There is a hidden subtext about the frailty of the human condition in the face of overwhelming odds. And although the show's title means Brute Force, I think it would be dangerous to invest it with too much metaphorical meaning. It is best enjoyed as an entertaining escape from the real world devoid of any deeper purpose.

Booking until 31st August, £25/ticket, 020 7424 9991, www.roundhouse.co.uk


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Careful Liz ... you're reading quite a lot into it! Banksy's explanation is 'I thought Camden was a bit messy, so i gave them a maid'.

12:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but we know banksy never tells us what he realy means

and why would it also be on east side of hoxton sqaure near white cube just also refurbished

may agree with city slicker


4:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speculate all you want that is why it sthere
Some say he did for Bono to show how we sweep under the carpet the AIDS crisis

4:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Max, and what is more cool than trying to reduce banksy? you are there mate but think slicker has a mainstream interpretation there mate

1:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Banksy is up on his own arse and that of the maids I imagine.

8:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this iamge. Thanks for sharing. Banksy is a hero.

10:08 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

max since when do artists tell us what they are thinking most esp mad man banksy
check his website for other awesome works
slicker keep promoting it!

6:26 pm  
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