Banksy - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, May 25, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    33 1/3 Gallery, Los Angeles
    Private Collection (acquired from the above in 2002)
    Sotheby's, London, 16 October 2010, lot 214
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, 33 1/3 Gallery, Existencilism, 19 July - 18 August 2002

  • Catalogue Essay

    The iconic British artist Banksy is an anonymous street artist, painter, and social and political activist. A provocateur who grew up “bombing" walls with his trademark stencilled graffiti during the 1990s in Bristol, England, his work has appeared on the streets, walls and bridges of cities around the world including San Francisco, Barcelona, Paris and Detroit.

    Starting as a freehand graffiti artist, Banksy reportedly turned to stencilling as his method of choice after noticing the stencilled serial number under a rubbish lorry whilst hiding from the police. Stencilling presented a practical solution for creating and replicating his work quickly and keeping him safely beyond the reach of law enforcement. A mutinous, iconoclastic streak underpins Banksy's iconic stencilled works and their pithy epigrammatic titles. Acid yellow smiley-faced policemen, rats wielding drills, monkeys detonating weapons of mass destruction, a monkey-faced Queen Elizabeth - Banksy uses his stencilled subjects as a form of incisive, biting social commentary that transcends language barriers:

    “As soon as I cut my first stencil I could feel the power there. I also like the political edge. All graffiti is low-level dissent, but stencils have an extra history. They’ve been used to start revolutions and to stop wars.” (Banksy, in Tristan Manco, Stencil Graffiti, 2002, UK, n.p.)

    Protesting war is a theme that occupies a special place in Banksy’s work (see for example Banksy’s CND Soldiers), and Everytime I Make Love to you I Think of Someone Else – an image of two cheerfully humping military vehicles, surrounded by a saccharine pink heart - is a pertinent example of Banksy’s views on modern warfare. Striking a balance between the whimsical and subversive is key trait of Banksy’s work: though the work strikes an ostensibly light-hearted, even humorous tone, Everytime I Make Love to you I Think of Someone Else was executed in the wake of 9/11, in the midst of escalating tensions and around the same time the US government began publicly setting out the groundwork for an invasion of Iraq, supported by key allies such as the United Kingdom.

    As the title of the work suggests, modern warfare is an expired, loveless relationship in which the invading parties are simply going through the motions. The banality of this arrangement is mocked by the oversized pink heart, which speaks to the superficial - even tacky - nature of the ‘theatre’ created by the parties intent on going to war. The vehicle on the left bears a strong resemblance to a British Humber armoured car, one of the most widely produced armoured cars of the Second World War. Its machine gun, pointed away from view, disappears into the undercarriage of a second military vehicle, one that bears a strong resemblance to the American M1117, a mine-resistant armoured military vehicle that was deployed in increasing numbers after 2001 in Iraq and Afghanistan. Everytime I Make Love to you I Think of Someone Else skewers the intentions of the two main protagonists in the Iraq War, suggesting that both parties have their sights set on other objectives and willingly engage in war to further a hidden agenda – as a means of obtaining access to oil fields, or to re-assert waning global influence for example. Banksy uses his art as a call to action:

    “It takes a lot of guts to stand up anonymously in a western democracy and call for things no-one else believes in - like peace and justice and freedom.” (Banksy, quoted in Wall and Piece, London, 2006, n.p.)

    Everytime I Make Love to you I Think of Someone Else was exhibited at the artist’s first show in Los Angeles (and his fourth ever solo show in a formal exhibition space) at Gallery 33 1/3 in 2002. Called ‘Existencilism’, the exhibition debuted some of his most iconic works including “Queen Victoria” and “Laugh Now”, and almost sold out. Once an outsider, today Banksy is firmly considered a cultural icon and his artistic achievements extend to canvas paintings, conceptual sculpture and even film, with the Academy Award-nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. His work now forms part of eminent public collections including the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

  • Artist Biography


    British • 1975 - N/A

    Anonymous street artist Banksy first turned to graffiti as a miserable fourteen year old disillusioned with school. Inspired by the thriving graffiti community in his home city, Bristol, Banksy's works began appearing on trains and walls in 1993, and by 2001 his blocky, spray-painted works had cropped up all over the United Kingdom. Typically crafting his images with spray paint and cardboard stencils, Banksy is able to achieve a meticulous level of detail. His aesthetic is clean and instantly readable due to his knack for reducing complex political and social statements to simple visual elements.

    His graffiti, paintings and screenprints use whimsy and humour to satirically critique war, capitalism, hypocrisy and greed — with not even the Royal family safe from his anti-establishment wit.

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Everytime I Make Love to you I Think of Someone Else

tagged 'BANKSY' on the lower right edge; further signed, numbered and dated 'BANKSY 1/5 LA 2002' on the stretcher;
acrylic, spray paint and stencil on canvas
91.5 x 76 cm. (36 x 29 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2002, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Pest Control.

HK$2,400,000 - 3,500,000 

Sold for HK$3,125,000

Contact Specialist

Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 May 2019