Fiorella Beccaglia A&E Editor
The tattered painting by Banksy, “Girl With Balloon”, has been re-certified and renamed “Love Is in the Bin” after it seemingly self-destructed at an auction in London on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. Right after being sold, the painting, which was hanging on the wall next to some staff members at the auction, began to shred itself to the astonishment of the observers. The shredding stopped about halfway down the canvas. The winning bidder has confirmed she will be sticking with her $1.4 million purchase.
The true identity of the Bristol-born artist has not been officially confirmed despite wide speculation. He rose to fame with graffiti that appeared on buildings across the UK, often marked by deeply satirical undertones.
The destruction of the painting has now been confirmed to be the work of Banksy himself. Pest Control, the authentication body for the anonymous artist, has verified that he was responsible for cutting half of one of his artworks into thin strips just seconds after it was sold. He posted a video to his Instagram page (@Banksy) on Oct. 6, which gave an early indication that the shredding was intentional. The key is in the beautifully adorned Victorian frame. Banksy’s story is that a few years ago he secretly built a shredder into the frame in case the picture was put up for auction. “A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting. In case it was ever put up for auction,” read the text cut between shots. The video is captioned with a witty quote from Picasso, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.” It has been watched almost 13 million times.
Why would Banksy do this to his own painting? Well, he has one edgy reputation and has expressed multiple times his aversion towards the art industry. The shredding of his multi-million-dollar painting was an act of deep criticism.
However, as an unanticipated backlash, dealers have speculated that this Banksy’s “Girl With Balloon” painting has become even more valuable after the artist’s intervention created a memorable, and to me, hilarious, moment. If you have not gotten a chance go watch the video, the spectator’s faces are priceless. The self-destructing painting is “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction,” said Alex Branczik, head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art in Europe. “Banksy didn’t destroy an artwork in the auction, he created one,” Mr. Branczik added.
Since then, the stunt has also become a meme on social media, as people have substituted other pieces of art, like the Mona Lisa, and other political imagery, such as the Constitution and even a picture of Brett Kavanaugh.