Barcode by Banksy

Barcode Banksy

Find out more about Banksy’s ‘Barcode’ series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.

Since his beginnings on the street art and graffiti scene, Banksy has been notorious for his social commentary on many controversial subjects from police brutality to the refugee crisis, war and animal cruelty.

Barcode first appeared on the side of a house on Pembroke Road in Bristol. The stencil was quickly removed from the wall in August 2010 and unexpectedly resurfaced after four years on the occasion of a school exhibition in Somerset. The work was first seen at auction in March 2012, selling at Bonhams, New Bond Street, in their Urban Art Sale.

Estimated at auction for £60,000 – £80,000 it realised £75,650. The print had been acquired directly from an exhibition entitled Existencilism at the 33 1/3 Gallery in Los Angeles. More recently, in June 2016, Bonhams sold another Barcode original for £158,500 at their Post-War and Contemporary Art sale.

The monochromatic palette, often employed by Banksy to emphasise his powerful message, depicts a majestic leopard seemingly emerging from a barcode that resembles a cage on wheels. Like many of Banksy’s works, the artwork allows for several interpretations; the barcode, introduced in the mid-1970s was intended to make people buy more and faster and here it is used as a symbol of consumerism and capitalism. Banksy employs it to resemble a cage from which a creature can and must escape. The leopard can be seen to be demonstrating the ability we all have to free ourselves from the shackles of consumerism.

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