Banksy's Rat With 3D Glasses

Year: 2010
Medium: Spray Paint
Dimensions: 38 × 48cm
Signed/Unsigned: Signed
Banksy’s Rat With 3D Glasses. A spray paint work of a rat wearing 3D glasses with blue and red lenses.Rat With 3D Glasses © Banksy 2010
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

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Rat With 3D Glasses emerges as a striking commentary on the interplay between perception and reality. Created in 2010, this unsigned spray painting captures a rat – Banksy’s recurrent emblem of the marginalised – adorned with quintessential blue-and-red 3D glasses. Set against a monochromatic grey backdrop, the rat is a solitary figure, its paws fumbling in a gesture that suggests an instinctive search for orientation. Banksy’s work is often layered with meaning, and here, the rat’s impaired vision serves as a potent metaphor for society’s media-saturated condition, where true sight is often obscured by the spectacle.

Rat With 3D Glasses: Meaning & Analysis

In Banksy's Rat With 3D Glasses, the rat, a creature of survivalist instinct, finds itself obscured behind lenses meant to enhance dimensionality, yet here, it appears to hinder true perception, reducing the world to disjointed fragments of colour and form.

The artwork’s 3D glasses are tied to the illusion of depth in cinema, a contrived enhancement of the flat screen. Banksy co-opts this device to comment on the skewed reality presented by the media – a view that is vivid yet devoid of substance. The rat's paws, frozen mid-air, suggest a grappling for something tangible amidst the disorienting influence of these spectacles. It’s a visual metaphor for society’s often blind navigation through a world made increasingly complex by the very tools designed to offer clarity and insight.

This piece reveals the dynamics of sight and the unseen. The grey expanse behind the rat speaks to the uniformity of the environment that media can create, a boundless space where direction is lost, and the individual becomes submerged in the collective experience of illusion. The rat, often a creature relegated to the darkness, is exposed in the plain light, yet it cannot see. It is an allegory for the human condition in the modern media landscape, where the bombardment of imagery and information can leave us feeling as though we are sleepwalking, disconnected from the physical and tactile world.

“This artwork cleverly critiques the distortion of reality by modern media, suggesting that the tools meant to enhance our understanding may instead fragment and obscure it.”

Joe Syer
Joe Syer,Co-Founder & Specialist,MYArtbroker

Reflections on Rat With 3D Glasses

In Rat With 3D Glasses, Banksy offers a profound exploration of the dichotomy between vision and reality, casting the rat as a navigator through an image of the human condition. The rat's reliance on tactile sense over its compromised vision serves as a powerful allegory for the need to discern the essence of reality in an era dominated by facades. Here, the rat embodies the innate human yearning for authenticity in a world saturated with virtual constructs.

The plain grey background captures the grey area of modern media while the rat, a creature of the night, becomes a stand-in for the individual, sleepwalking through a dimly lit world of half-truths and manipulated imagery. Banksy cleverly uses the animal's nocturnal nature to parallel our own blind navigation through the shadowy realms of information overload, where clarity is as elusive as the end of a maze in the dark.

The artwork's positioning within Banksy’s oeuvre also reflects on the nature of visibility and invisibility in society. The rat, despite its newfound vision through the 3D glasses, remains essentially invisible to the truth, echoing the invisibility of the marginalised who are often unseen amidst the dazzle of the societal spectacle. Banksy's rat, therefore, is not just an observer but a participant in the shared experience of seeking clarity in a cluttered world.

As the rat attempts to make sense of its environment, Banksy invites the viewer to question their own perceptions and the layers of reality shaped by external influences. The 3D glasses, while intended to enhance, only distort, reminding us that the tools we use to perceive the world can sometimes lead us further from the truth. In the silent dialogue between the rat and its obscured surroundings, Rat With 3D Glasses becomes a compelling invitation to peel away the lenses of mediated vision and engage with the world in its raw, unvarnished state.

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