Banksy Reveals That ‘Girl With Balloon’ Painting Was Intentionally Shredded

Famous street artist Banksy revealed in a recent video that the shredding of the ‘Girl With Balloon’ painting didn’t really go to plan, but it’s still worth more than £1 million, and was supposed to have been completely destroyed in the stunt.

Earlier this month, onlookers at a Sotheby’s auction were left stunned when they watched the painting “self destruct”, just moments after it was sold to a European collector, through the implantation of a shredder at the bottom of the frame of the piece.

The video, titled “Shred The Love, The Director’s Cut”, Banksy revealed that he carried out rehearsals beforehand for the art stunt, and that during the practice runs the secret shredder hidden inside the painting’s frame had “worked every time”.

The original ‘Girl With Balloon’ artwork shows a girl reaching towards a red heart-shaped balloon, said to be based on an image out of Syria. It is Banksy’s most well-known painting, but the shredded stunt from Sotheby’s created a lot of publicity, presumed to increase the value of the artwork.

The footage in the video, shows a test run of the ‘Girl With Balloon’ painting passing through the shredder completely, with none of the canvas remaining intact. However, at the auction the painting was only half-destroyed, with only the bottom half reduced to strips hanging from the bottom of the frame. Fail!

The anonymous artist, Banksy, posted to Instagram, saying: “Some people think it didn’t really shred. It did. Some people think the auction house were in on it, they weren’t.”

The now shredded artwork has been renamed to “Love Is In The Bin” after being granted certification by Pest Control, Banksy’s authentication body. Sotheby’s also confirmed that the original buyer still wishes to take the artwork for the agreed price. Sotheby’s senior director, Alex Branczik commented, “It appears we just got Banksy-ed”, following the stunt.

The original artwork was estimated to sell for £200,000 to £300,000 before the auction. However, some experts now believe the prank and shredding stun has now increased the value of the artwork.

‘Love Is In The Bin’ is the latest in Banksy’s long string of anti-establishment statements, who gained wide popularity through his series of graffiti pieces across the world since the mid 2000’s. Most prominently, the opening of Dismaland in 2015, his dystopian version of Disneyland, described as a “family theme park unsuitable for children” was also another artistic satire from the artist, whose identity still largely remains a mystery.

However, researchers and the people in the know have matched up Banksy’s stencil artwork to locations that have matched up with music group Massive Attack’s tour dates, suggesting that Robert Del Naja is the true secret artist.

Regardless, what is ironic is that the very culture that Banksy sought to artistically go against, has now backfired, and he now very much embodies the very essence of establishment pretentiousness throughout the art world, with, or without a built-in shredder…


Story by Emily Clark

Featured Photo Credit: Babylon Radio

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