I Fought The Law – Banksy

Title: I Fought The Law (Unsigned)
Year: 2004
Medium: Screen print on paper
Size: 70 × 70 cm
Edition of 500
Accompanied By Pest Control Certificate of Authenticity

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I Fought The Law shows a photo-realistic black and white stencil figure of a man being pinned down by three other men, while a man in the foreground drinks what appears to be a bottle of beer. The man being pinned down by the group has just dropped a paintbrush covered in orange paint, with which he has graffitied ‘I Fought The Law And I Won’, on the wall behind them. The writing on the wall is a play on the infamous Clash song, ‘I Fought The Law and The Law Won.’ The meaning of this subversion could be interpreted as Banksy’s statement that those who rise above the law and fight protocol, are invariably knocked down by the jeering masses. Alternatively, it could be seen that, despite getting caught, the graffiti artist had already won – by writing on the wall, he had succeeded in getting his message out there despite what happened next. The positioning of the men in the image is a reversal of photographs capturing the assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan.