Vote To Love, 2018
Spray-paint on UPIK placard mounted on board
117 x 116.5 x 8.5 cm (46 x 45 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches)
Signed and dated “18” on the reverse
Sotheby’s London: 11 February 2020
GBP 1,155,000 / USD 1,494,758
Executed in 2018, Vote to Love is a subversive painting from the anonymous street artist’s seditious and politically charged oeuvre. To create the work, Banksy defaced a found “Vote to Leave” placard from the UK’s 2016 Brexit campaign, led by UKIP’s then-leader, Nigel Farage. The composition depicts a red, heart-shaped balloon, patched up with crisscrossed plasters, which has drifted in front of the placard’s slogan, altering the word “LEAVE” to “LOVE”. With its striking simplicity and raw immediacy, Vote to Love offers a message of optimism at a time of increasing divisiveness in global politics.
The work was prominently displayed in The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition 2018, after originally being turned down for the show when Banksy submitted the work under the pseudonym Bryan S. Gaakman, a play on the words “Banksy anagram”. Banksy summarized this episode on his Instagram account…
Vote to Love was ironically priced at GBP 350 million in the exhibition catalogue.
Another strong political statement from Banksy which is a direct reference to the infamous Vote Leave Bus which claimed Brexit would save the NHS an extra GBP 350 million a week.
Following the sale of Banksy’s Devolved Parliament in October 2019, a monumental work of biting satire, the creation of Vote to Love further exemplifies the artist’s penchant for disturbing and disrupting the status-quo. Striking and pertinent in its immediacy, Vote to Love encapsulates Banksy’s interrogative and anti-establishmentarian practice.
The heart shaped balloon is an important image within Banksy’s oeuvre and, as such, rich in symbolism… It all started with his iconic Girl with Balloon (2002) who was also used worldwide for the #withSyria campaign in 2014.
The first Love Heart Balloon with plaster appeared at Art in the Streets, the seminal street art museum exhibit at MOCA, in Los Angeles in 2011, curated by Jeffrey Deitch.
Credit Photo: Birdman
Love Hurts was then painted in the streets of New York in 2013 during Banksy‘s artistic residency Better Out than In.
And a painted canvas with the Heart Balloon was then sold in 2014 to support the Haitian Charity Auction for USD 650,000.
This was followed by the release of a revisited version of the Girl With Balloon featuring a heart with the Union Jack flag for the UK Elections in June 2017, which was later recalled due to criminal offence.