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Love Is In The Bin, October 2018


Love Is In The Bin
London, 5 October 2018

The Biggest Prank in Art History:
Girl with Balloon Becomes Love Is In the Bin


On 5 October 2018, a version of Balloon Girl with the artist’s frame sold at Sotheby’s London for GBP 1,042,000. However, shortly after the gavel dropped and the sale was final, an alarm sounded inside of the picture frame and the canvas passed through a shredder hidden within the frame, partially shredding the image.
The prank received wide news coverage around the world, with one newspaper stating that it was “quite possibly the biggest prank in art history.” Banksy then released a video on how the shredder was installed into the frame and the shredding of the picture, explaining that he had surreptitiously fitted the painting with the shredder a few years previously, in case it ever went up for auction.
To explain his rationale for destroying his own artwork, Banksy quoted Picasso: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge”.

It is not known exactly how the shredder was activated. Banksy has released another video indicating that the painting was intended to be shredded completely. The video shows a sample painting completely shredded by the frame and says: “In rehearsals it worked every time…”.
The happy woman who won the bidding at the auction decided to go through with the purchase. The partially shredded work has been given a new title Love Is In The Bin and it was authenticated by Pest Control Office.
Sotheby’s released a statement:
“Banksy didn’t destroy an artwork in the auction, he created one,” and called it “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.”

Girl with Balloon 

Year: 2006-2018
Medium: Spray-paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on board, in artist’s frame
Dimensions: 101x78x18 cm (39 3/4 x 30 3/4 x 7 inches)
Edition: Unique
Signed and dedicated on reverse
With its striking simplicity and raw immediacy, Girl with Balloon, 2006, is one of the most widely recognizable images by the anonymous and world-renowned artist Banksy. Unlike the other editioned iterations of this famous motif, the present work is a rare unique painting that was given to the present owner by Banksy in 2006 following the artist’s warehouse show, Barely Legal, in Los Angeles. Beating Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire, Constable’s The Hay Wain and Hockney’s A Bigger Splash to the top spot, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon was voted the nation’s favorite artwork in a 2017 poll; a resounding affirmation of the broad and wide-reaching popularity of this undeniably iconic and culturally formidable image.
Girl with Balloon depicts a small child rendered in black and white who reaches out towards a bright red, heart shaped balloon dangling from a string. Like much of Banksy’s work, the image is an ambiguous one, leaving the viewer to decipher whether the girl is reaching out to catch the balloon – a vibrant emblem of childhood delight – or rather has let it slip from her fingers and is watching in anguish as it drifts into oblivion, a metaphor, perhaps, for the inevitable loss of childhood and innocence.
Composed in spray paint and acrylic on canvas, the motif is based on an original graffiti mural first painted outside a Shoreditch shop in 2002 and then on London’s Southbank that same year, this time accompanied by the epitaph ‘There is Always Hope’. Bordered by an ornate gilded frame, an integral element of the artwork chosen by Banksy himself, the present work is a kitschy emblem of pathos. Instantly gettable, Banksy’s graffiti image is a perfect encapsulation of human emotion for the short-attention span of our social media age: it seditiously pokes fun at high-minded art world savoir faire and in doing so appeals to many, for whom it represents a contemporary expression of sanctity, a bright and vivid symbol of hope everlasting.
Ultimately, however, Girl with Balloon is the poster-child of Banksy’s art: whether you are for or against him, this image utterly encapsulates the immediacy and controversy surrounding the artist’s mission.
Source: Sotheby’s