Sunday, 24 January 2010


It won’t be the first time an artist has been criticised for passing off ambitiously opportunist work as a masterpiece, whether it’s mammals bobbing majestically in formaldehyde or shit in a can the debate of what determines an objects worth continues to rage on.

This time however things are a little different it is validity rather than technical merit scrutinized under the microscope. The latest exhibition from the V and A sees Banksy sitting pretty next to Egyptian princesses who stare straight in to Lowrys bleak urban landscapes. An untrained eye, heck a trained eye would be mistakenly baffled by this seemingly ad-hoc arrangement of Art. Look a little closer, keep looking and one similarity unites this odd cacophony: They’re counterfeits.
If they were real, the collection would be worth more than four million pounds. Instead what we have is the crème de la crème of the art underworld, notorious forgeries allowed to be appreciated, for the first time ever, for what they really are. Astonishing lengths were reached whilst enhancing the validity of these pieces, shreds of Victorian newspapers pasted on the back’s of painting, roman coins melted down to make statues…even the most straightedge of art fans can nor deny the sheer skill and dedication need to pull the wool over industry eyes!

One of his most notorious works is the "Amarna Princess", which was bought by a museum in Bolton for 400,000 pounds under the guise of a rare Egyptian engraving of the pharaoh Akhenaten.

So next time you’re feeling a little strapped for cash, banish those thoughts of heading down The Forest Road and reach for a pencil of a different kind. Come on how hard can drawing Sunflowers actually be.

The exhibition, "The Metropolitan Police Service's Investigation of Fakes and Forgeries" is open from January 23 to February 7.


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