Buyer goes ahead with purchase of shredded Banksy painting

Deanna Kelley
October 12, 2018

The artwork has since been renamed "Love is in the Bin" and certificated by Pest Control, a company run by Banksy, who keeps his identity secret, London-based auctioneers Sotheby's said.

The spray paint and acrylic work on canvas and mounted on board - which was created in 2006 after first appearing as a mural in East London - depicted a girl reaching out toward a bright red, heart-shaped balloon.

In an Instagram post Saturday, Banksy claimed the dramatic artistic payoff had been years in the making.

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed", Alex Branczik, senior director and head of contemporary art, said in a statement on Sotheby's website.

Onlookers gasped and laughed after the bottom half of "Girl with Balloon", one of Banksy's best-known works, was sucked into a shredder hidden in its frame as the hammer fell, auction house Sotheby's said.

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge", wrote Banksy, citing a leading anarchist theorist of the nineteenth century, Mikhail Bakunin, but attributing the quote to the famous painter Pablo Picasso.

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It does not show how the shredder was activated, but it is thought to have been achieved through a remotely activated mechanism within the frame.

The painting soared to a final price of £1,042,000 ($1,357,726), equalling the auction record for a Banksy work originally set back in 2008. No other artist captures the hearts and minds of the public like he does.

The anonymous buyer of a Banksy painting that mysteriously shredded just after it was auctioned off at Sotheby's last week plans to keep the work.

While Banksy's stunt has been called a conceptual master stroke, pulling it off was no easy task. "We are busily figuring out what this means in an auction context".

Fairey likens Banksy's "Girl With Balloon" prank to performance art: ephemeral but everlasting, regardless of how the auction house ultimately proceeds regarding the work's new buyer.

That makes it part of world art history, according to Mr Syer, which will increase its appeal.

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