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Banksy's "Girl with Balloon" Shreds Itself Moments After it Was Sold at Auction for 1.4 GBP

10/5/2018 to 10/14/2021

Banksy's "Girl with Balloon" renamed "Love is in the Bin" after it has been partially shredded by remote control.

Moments after it was sold at auction on October 5, 2018 for £1.4M a version of Banksy's "Girl with Balloon" destroyed itself. The artist concealed a shredder within the picture frame. Later this video was released:


"In October 2018, one of Banksy's works, Balloon Girl, was sold in an auction at Sotheby's in London for £1.04m. However, shortly after the gavel dropped and it was sold, an alarm sounded inside of the picture frame and the canvas passed through a shredder hidden within the frame, partially shredding the picture.[141] Banksy then posted an image of the shredding on Instagram captioned "Going, going, gone...".[142] After the sale, the auction house acknowledged that the self-destruction of the work was a prank by the artist.[143] The prank received wide news coverage around the world, with one newspaper stating that it was "quite possibly the biggest prank in art history."[141] Joey Syer, co-founder of an online platform facilitating art dealer sales,[144] told the Evening Standard: "The auction result will only propel this further and given the media attention this stunt has received, the lucky buyer would see a great return on the £1.02M they paid last night, this is now part of art history in its shredded state and we'd estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50% to its value, possibly as high as being worth £2m+."[145] A man seen filming the shredding of the picture during its auction has been suggested to be Banksy.[146][147] Banksy has since 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".[148][149] (Although Banksy cited Picasso, this quote is usually attributed to Mikhail Bakunin.)[150] It is not known how the shredder was activated.[151] 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...".[152]

"The 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 Banksy's authentication body Pest Control. Sotheby released a statement that said "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" (Wikipedia article Banksy, accessed December 2020).

On October 14, 2021, roughly three years later, Sotheby's sold the same work for £18.58 million ($25.38 million), a new record for the British artist.

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