With a sarcastic nod to Banksy and a touch of sci-fi cutting edge humour, Dismal and the empire captures the 70’s feel of many a movie and takes it to a new level of darkness and the consumerism that is despised by Banksy and yet the mere setting up of “Dismaland” enshrines commercial art and the hypocrisy of art for arts sake.
Each element of the image adds a cold, harsh dismay in its dystopian vision. The emptiness of the land, the robots trundling through with the only touch of color being the shadowy figure holding the balloon adding a small semblance of warmth to an otherwise dead zone.
Viewing it opens the mind to questions of “how?” or “why?” and details pop up each time you view adding to the sense of wonder that was won and lost in this broken down landscape. The swirling mass of clouds brings visions of cyclones or even darker forces at work, the lack of humanity shown with the sterility of the scene and of course the two lone figures trekking through searching for something you can’t quite place in the grand scheme lending it an apocalyptic undertone.
Yet we still find the humor; the distinct figures reminiscent of star wars, the single stroke of genius that is the balloon and of course the veiled references to corporations in the scenery.
Making this bleak scene take on a whole new dimension and color, opening the door to commercialism in the modern world being unsustainable or perhaps unattainable, a dark humor that belies the coldness of the overall piece.
The painting lending itself to dark humour as much as is does to a bleak, desolate and run down place without hope, with the small details and subtle digs at larger works taking it from desolation and despair to a cleverly structured satirical piece of art that pokes fun at the establishment whilst enjoying it in the same broad stroke. A masterpiece of sarcasm and commercialism encapsulating a very western condition.
For more on this artists work see: https://jpmclaughlin.co.uk