‘Shocked’ Buyer of GBP£1M Shredded Banksy to Keep It, Renamed ‘Love is in the Bin’
Girl with Balloon, which appeared to self-destruct at a Sotheby’s auction last week, has been reborn
Sotheby’s has said that the buyer behind Banksy’s Girl with Balloon (2006), which appeared to self-destruct after selling at auction in London last week, has decided to keep the work. The partially shredded artwork has now been renamed Love is in the Bin (2018).
The painting by the street artist sold for GBP£1042,000 at a Sotheby’s auction last Friday evening. But just as the sale was hammered down, the artwork – which was the final lot of the night – seemed to drop from its faux-gilt frame, peeling itself into ribbons and triggering a security alarm. The artist later released a short film of himself hiding a shredder in the picture frame.
Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art, Europe, who earlier speculated that Banksy’s self-shredding stunt could have made the work ‘more valuable’, said in a statement: ‘Banksy didn’t destroy an artwork in the auction, he created one.’ Branczik described it as ‘the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.’
The buyer, who has been identified as a female European collector and longtime Sotheby’s client, commented: ‘When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.’. The work has been given a new certificate by Pest Control, offical authenticator of Banksy’s work.
Opinion has been divided over the prank, with some hailing it as an avant-garde act of self-destruction and criticism of the art market (Banksy himself has cited Picasso’s maxim, ‘The urge to destroy is also a creative urge’). Others speculated that the auction house might have been in on the stunt from the beginning, and that the value of the work had significantly increased.