May 26, 2020

Banksy and the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Everything around Banksy is a circus of expensive production, in which he interprets the totality of characters – the main and the secondary ones, the one of "Robin Hood anti-system" and the one of infallible speculator. During the day, scourge of the market and neocapitalism; During the night, a businessman capable of raising the price of his works to ten million pounds.

It seems that, in its "good" and anti-capitalist version, it now intends to control the market for its work, so that it does not become a new oil well for investors. To this end, it has launched an online store called Gross Domestic Product in which merchandising of its particular artistic universe will be sold from 10 to 850 pounds.

The conditions of sale contemplate that, in case of suspicion of resale and speculation by the buyer, the operation may be canceled. In the same way, all the new work that leaves its factory will be forced to inhabit a kind of limbo of allegiance for two years: the team in charge of authenticating its pieces – the so-called Pest Control – will not verify its originality until after this period, the objective of avoiding a rapid resale and the consequent deranging of their prices. So far we have the “Banksy-Jekyll” – the one who opposes the predatory dynamics of the market.

But what if this exhaustive control of his work was only a strategy to increase the desire of collecting on it? As in the Dry Law, everything that is prohibited in “market A” ends up firing in “market B”. In this society governed by the law of supply and demand, everything whose circulation is dosed and whose acquisition becomes "difficult", exponentially increases its value.

Hence, in the case of a marketing and finance genius like Banksy, any suspicion of manipulation on the table will have many signs of responding to a reality. Strictly speaking, are we faced with an attempt to sensibly redirect the price of Banksy's art, or, on the contrary, the ultimate goal is to enhance its “luxury item” character? Maybe both at the same time: Jekyll and Hyde.

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