Bansky’s famed self-shredding artwork, Love is in the Bin, sets an auction record, selling for a whopping $34.3 million AUD.
Destroying an artwork seems like a counter-intuitive way to increase its value, but that’s exactly what has happened with Banksy’s piece, previously know as Girl with Balloon.
The original canvas was half-shredded by a mechanism hidden in the frame just after the hammer fell on the $1.9m sale in 2018. The stunt was labelled “ingenious” and sent shock waves not only through the art world but across the internet, showcasing Banksy’s signature mischief.
Of the recent sale, Alex Branczik, chairman of modern and contemporary art at Sotheby’s Asia, said:
“It is almost three years to the day since one of the most ingenious moments of performance art this century made auction history. Banksy is no stranger to making headlines and this latest chapter in his story has captured imaginations across the world – we can only begin to guess what might come next.”
The sale price is almost twenty times that of the original sale of Girl with Balloon, a feat that adds layers of complexity to the theory that the shredding stunt was a comment on capitalism and the art market.
The stunt itself, while technically destroying the painting, did not maim it beyond recognition. In fact, it served to boost Bansky’s profile.
At the time of the shredding, Mikael Faujour the specialist French art magazine Artension said, “Banksy might think that by destroying his art he’s undermining capitalists who buy it, but he’s wrong.”
“The leftovers from this destruction will acquire a new prestige and additional monetary worth,” he said. Turns out, he wasn’t wrong.
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Several of the anonymous artist’s works have sold for multiple millions at auctions.
In March, a Banksy mural honouring Britain’s health workers first painted on a hospital wall, sold for $16.8 million pounds ($31 million AUD) at a Christie’s auction, which was — until this week — a record for the artist. The profits were donated to the NHS.