London (dpa) - The mysterious street artist Banksy has advertised in a London underground with rat pictures for wearing masks in the Corona crisis. Banksy is even said to be on a video of almost a minute that is spread on Instagram - with a mask, white protective suit, blue rubber gloves and an orange safety vest.

By Wednesday morning it had been viewed more than three million times. The pictures can no longer be seen in the subway - the traffic authorities have had them wiped away.

"In this particular case, the artwork was removed a few days ago due to our strict anti-graffiti policy," a spokesman for the traffic authority said. But they wanted to give Banksy the chance to create a new work in an "appropriate place".

The video shows how the artist uses stencils to paint rats on the inner walls and windows of the wagons. For example, an animal sails down with a mask as a parachute, another - without a mask - sneezes at a window with a lot of paint. Banksy also used spray cans and a pressure sprayer for his pictures. Passengers do not recognize the artist on the underground because they think he is an employee of the public transport company.

At the end of the video, the artist alludes to the band Chumbawamba's hit "Tubthumping", which among other things says: "I get up again". Banksy left a comment on Instagram: "If you don't wear a mask, you won't get it."

The UK government announced Tuesday that a mask requirement would apply in supermarkets and other stores in England from July 24th. Each country in the UK decides on its own pandemic measures. A mask requirement for public transport was introduced in England in June.

Banksy has repeatedly addressed the pandemic in his works. In May he thanked the heroes of the Corona crisis with a large painting in a clinic in Southampton. The picture published on his Instagram account shows a boy kneeling and letting a nurse doll hover in the air in his hand. Like Superman, she extends her hand - and wears a face mask, cape, and an apron with a red cross. In addition to his picture, the artist also left a piece of paper that said: "Thank you for everything you do. I hope this lights up the place a little. »

About twelve weeks ago, Banksy first published a work from the home office on Instagram during the pandemic. He had painted several rats on the wall in his bathroom. The objects standing around were arranged so that it looked as if the rodents had caused the mess. The artist wrote below: "My wife hates it when I work from home."

Banksy's identity puzzles. It is known that he comes from Bristol and came to London in the late 90s. He made a name for himself with socially critical and mostly controversial motives, for example on refugees or consumer behavior.

His works also appear in other countries. Banksy is currently making headlines in Italy - albeit in an art thriller. Italy returned the so-called Banksy door, which was stolen from the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, to France on Tuesday. A sad woman with a veil can be seen on the door. Investigators had tracked down the artwork in Italy last month. On November 13, 2015, 90 people were killed in a terrorist attack in the Bataclan. The gloomy picture of the woman had subsequently appeared on the outer door. It's supposed to be a tribute to Banksy's victims.

In 2018, he caused a sensation with a campaign at Sotheby's. The painting “Girl with a Balloon” was auctioned for just under EUR 1.2 million. Shortly after the hammer fell, the participants were amazed by a shredder hidden in the frame - the upper part of the picture remained, the rest hung in strips. Banksy presented the action on Instagram as a criticism of the art market. The buyer accepted the shredded picture.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200715-99-797889 / 3

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