While Paris has been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the May 68 Riots with multiple exhibitions, elusive artist Banksy has hit the streets of the French capital with a series of new artworks.
May 68 in France – Ten million workers on strike, young people in the streets, public services at a standstill, a paralysed economy: the state faced a major social crisis which threatened to shake its very foundations. The entire country was affected, including all sectors of activity.
Facing the entrance of La Sorbonne University, Banksy put up a dark stencil of a man hiding a saw behind his back while an amputated dog is salivating looking up at a bone. Could be a play on words ‘Saw Bone’ which sounds similar to ‘Sorbonne’, but also is a very cynical symbol of our society, raising questions of sacrifice and perceived rewards from the powers in place.
Placement and context are always very important. This is where the major student demonstrations took place. Interestingly, less than 10 meters away from this ‘Saw & Bone’ stencil, Invader placed a pixelated commemoration plaque on the Place de La Sorbonne earlier this May.
Click on the pics to enlarge
Banksy painted additional little rats characters, with the tag 1968 and the 8 falling apart and being transformed into the bow of the famous Minnie mouse, nod to Disneyland, symbolising with his stencils that the 1968 uprising has lost its luster and morphed into capitalism.
Next to the Centre Pompidou, which hosts Le Musee d’art Moderne, the largest museum of modern art in Europe, Banksy painted a mischief rat, which was later transformed into a bigger one holding a cutter. He posted the caption on his Instagram: ‘Fifty years since the uprising in Paris 1968. The birthplace of modern stencil art.’
The entire city is celebrating the 50th Anniversary, from the streets to institutions. For further historical context about the 1968 riots, the Hotel de Ville is presenting historical pictures by photograph Gilles Caron who documented the student revolts while the Archives Nationales are showing the events of May-June 1968 as seen by the authorities of the time. Earlier in May we also shared the intervention of Spanish artist ESCIF on the external walls ‘Open Borders’ of the modern art institution Palais de Tokyo ( see full coverage here).
Stay tuned as we continue our coverage of Banksy invasion of the French capital…