Image Source: RT
By Rishi Sharma
LONDON – Street artist Banksy’s “Girl with Balloon” painting self-destructed after being auctioned for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s Auction House on 6 October 2018. The piece shred itself into vertical cuts, shocking bidders and auctioneers alike. However, the shredding of the painting has caught the attention of millions on social media and the news, leading art experts to speculate an increase in the painting’s value. Banksy has released a short video of his plan and the Sotheby’s audience’s reaction to the shredding on Instagram.
Banksy is a popular artist whose signature features include his anonymity and profound art style. His art hit the streets in the early 90s and developed into eye-catching pieces in the later part of the decade when he began using graffiti stencils. His art revolves around political situations and human rights.
Art dealers in Bristol and London have been keeping a close watch on new Banksy-like art on the streets in hopes of finding an authentic. Banksy keeps an official Instagram account, on which he posts pictures of finished works, which enables art dealers to hunt down his works. Once his works are located, art dealers negotiate with property owners to break the wall containing the graffiti down. Over the years, Banksy’s pieces have been increasing in value, with his works “Keep It Spotless”, “Simple Intelligence Testing”, and “The Rude Lord” being sold for $1,870,000, $1,265,120, and $655,200 respectively.
“Keep It Spotless” (left) and “Simple Intelligence Testing” (right).
“Girl with Balloon”, auctioned for $1,374,580, and is at the moment the second most expensive Banksy work. Despite the self-destruction, the man who bought the painting has decided to keep it as experts speculate an increase in the piece’s value. Thierry Ehrmann, who heads Artprice, a firm that tracks the market value for art pieces, speculates that the painting could now be worth over $2.5 million, which would make the piece the most expensive of Banksy’s works. MyArtBroker.com tweeted that their co-founder Joey Syer says that the painting “is one of the most iconic images of recent times.”
Banksy has officially changed the name of the painting to “Love is in the Bin.” Banksy’s intentions behind the self-destruction are not fully known. He captioned his Instagram video “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge,” which is a quote accredited to renowned artist Pablo Picasso. However, he has made no explicit statement regarding what he hoped would have happened. It will be interesting to see how accurate the experts’ speculation of the piece’s new value is and if self-destruction artworks will become a new Banksy signature.