Banksy is believed to have created Stop and Search somewhere around 2007. Although there appear to be some reincarnations of the work on canvas as well, the dominant form that this work takes is that of the 500 signed and numbered prints released by Banksy in 2007. Executed in a manner less like the bold and minimalist style that Banksy courageously employs in works such as Gangsta Rat and Sandwich Board Wearing-Monkey, this piece has been done more in the storybook kitsch and illustration style that he chooses in works such as No Ball Games.
Stop and Search presents in monochrome to the viewer, a two dimensional narrative or storyline with a fairly recognizable Dorothy (the central character of the Wizard of Oz), her small Maltese poodle, Otto, and a police officer with blue latex gloves, which are the only coloured visual element in Stop and Search. In this illustrative piece, we can see the police officer searching a distressed looking Dorothy’s basket while Otto looks on meekly from below. The eyes of the police officer are darkened and seem to instil him with a latent violence. The piece relates to the plot of the Wizard of Oz too and gives us the suggestion that Dorothy and Otto are being held by the police officer and kept from getting home in time.
Stop and Search makes a brilliant parody of the Wizard of Oz in the signature juxtaposition style of Banksy. He brings seemingly unrelated, anachronistic and sometimes absurd visual and thematic elements together to create for us a question, an intelligent joke (sometimes at our expense), a riddle, a declaration to a problem arising from the modern condition, and so on.
In this piece, Banksy is also bringing up the theme of institutional paranoia, which is characteristic of the times we live in and the invasive nature of modern surveillance and interrogation that is at its highest in the police-state. Banksy is saying, not even Dorothy who is unanimously seen as a character representing innocence and freedom is free from the menacing influence of the state.
Banksy could be saying something else as well in a very different direction. Dorothy represents the imagination while the police officer could represent the aggressive and coldly rational nature of cyber-capitalism and modern systems.
Specialists in Banksy prints and urban art, Contemporary Art Trader can help you find your very own, authentic Stop and Search, signed or unsigned. For any queries you may have, contact us today.