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  • Catalogue Essay

    It is undeniable that Bristol-born street artist Banksy has achieved legendary status as a global art world phenomenon far preceding his anonymous identity. From his oeuvre, CND Soldiers ranks amongst his most iconic images, featuring the striking depiction of two stencil-sprayed soldiers crouched on the ground, warily surveying the space around them. Situated above in dripping crimson red is a bold peace sign shape, which provides a satirical juxtaposition to the gunmen and allusions to violence beneath. This is made all the more powerful when it is recognised that the figure on the right actually holds a paintbrush in place of a weapon, insinuating that it is he who has marked this bold symbol of peace. 

     

    CND Soldiers is widely considered as Banksy’s most notorious anti-war work, distinctively showcasing the artist’s dark humour and anti-establishment wit. The image first cropped up directly across from the Houses of Parliament in London in 2003, only later to be removed by authorities. It appeared in participation with British peace campaigner Brian Haw’s long-standing protest against the United Kingdom’s involvement in Iraq – a campaign of remarkable determination supported by millions.

     

    The original installation of Banksy’s stencil painting, across from the British Parliament in London, Image Courtesy of AOTS

    Alluding to the present work’s title, a vibrant red symbol contrasts the monochromatic background and figures. Initially designed as the logo for the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), it has since become the international symbol for peace. In CND Soldiers, Banksy’s inclusion of the sign in dripping red overtly evokes the bloodshed of war, drawing a direct link to the officers beneath. But whilst one of the army men is on the lookout, rifle defensibly poised at the ready, the other dons a suspicious look on his face and holds a paintbrush in hand. In presenting the soldiers as activists and vandals graffitiing the wall in protest, Banksy introduces an ironic juxtaposition to question the role played by governments in their peacekeeping missions. Indeed, as one of his best-known images, CND Soldiers is a striking example of Banksy’s ability to deliver powerful messages of social importance and hope that are universally understood.

     

    “All graffiti is low-level dissent, but stencils have an extra history. They've been used to start revolutions and to stop wars.” —— Banksy

    As a seemingly unstoppable cultural force, works by Banksy can be found in prestigious public collections including the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and his graffiti, performances, and covert incursions have garnered him a devoted global following – including more than 10 million followers who watch his every move on Instagram. Celebrated across the world for his unique aesthetic, Banksy is now placed at the forefront of an artistic movement that has inspired generations to come as he continues to redefine to many what ‘art’ is.

     

    • Condition Report

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, The Netherlands
      Phillips, Taipei, 24 March 2019, lot 21
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      London, HOFA Gallery, Catch Me If You Can, 8 -15 October 2020 (another example exhibited)

    • Artist Biography

      Banksy

      British • 1974

      Anonymous street artist Banksy first turned to graffiti as a disillusioned youth. Inspired by the thriving graffiti community in his home city, Bristol, Banksy's works began appearing on trains and city streets in 1993, and by 2001, his signature, stenciled works had cropped up across the United Kingdom. Typically crafting his images with spray paint and cardboard stencils, Banksy is able to achieve a meticulous level of detail. His clean and immediately comprehensible aesthetic is a result of his unique ability to distill complex political and social statements into simple visual elements.  

      Through whimsy and humor, his graffiti works, paintings, and screenprints satirically critique war, capitalism, hypocrisy and greed. His anti-establishment wit has had an undeniable impact on today’s contemporary street culture.

      View More Works

19

CND Soldiers

numbered '189/350' with the publisher's blindstamp lower left
screenprint in colours on paper
sheet 69.8 x 49.5 cm. (27 1/2 x 19 1/2 in.)
frame 101 x 78.8 cm. (39 3/4 x 31 in.)

Published by Pictures on Walls, London in 2005, this work is number 189 from an edition of 350 (there was also a signed edition of 350), and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Pest Control.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
HK$150,000 - 250,000 
€16,300-27,200
$19,200-32,100

Please note that once you've placed your bid,
it cannot be cancelled.

Contact Specialist

Hin Hin Wong
Associate Specialist, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2013
[email protected]

24/7: Online Auction

Online Auction 21 - 30 July 2021