Win­ning bid­der for shred­ded Banksy paint­ing says she’ll keep it

Waterloo Region Record - - Arts & Life - SCOTT REYBURN

LON­DON — The woman who placed the win­ning tele­phone bid at a Lon­don auc­tion for Banksy’s paint­ing “Girl With Bal­loon,” which was par­tially shred­ded by re­mote con­trol mo­ments af­ter it sold for $1.4 mil­lion, is con­tin­u­ing with the pur­chase at the same price, Sotheby’s said in a state­ment Thurs­day.

“When the ham­mer came down last week and the work was shred­ded, I was at first shocked, but grad­u­ally I be­gan to re­al­ize that I would end up with my own piece of art his­tory,” the buyer, who was iden­ti­fied only as a “Euro­pean col­lec­tor and a long­stand­ing client,” com­mented in the state­ment.

Joanna Brooks, di­rec­tor of JBPR, who an­swers me­dia in­quiries for Banksy, said Sotheby’s had re­quested a new au­then­ti­ca­tion of the piece, which passed half­way through a shred­der con­cealed in the frame.

“It’s a dif­fer­ent work now, so it needed a new ti­tle.” The shred­ded piece, ti­tled “Love Is in the Bin,” has been granted an­other cer­tifi­cate by Pest Con­trol, Banksy’s of­fi­cial au­then­ti­ca­tion body. Nei­ther Brooks nor Sotheby’s would con­firm whether Banksy had been the seller of the paint­ing.

Af­ter the win­ning bid was de­clared for “Girl With Bal­loon” at Sotheby’s on Oct. 5, the paint­ing, hang­ing on the wall next to auc­tion house staff mem­bers, be­gan to shred it­self, to the sur­prise of on­look­ers. The shred­ding stopped about half­way down the can­vas. (A photo posted on the pri­vate In­sta­gram ac­count of Caro­line Lang, chair of Sotheby’s Switzer­land, showed a man in the salesroom op­er­at­ing an elec­tronic de­vice hid­den in­side a bag.)

Deal­ers have spec­u­lated that this Banksy paint­ing be­came more valu­able af­ter the artist’s in­ter­ven­tion cre­ated a mem­o­rable mo­ment. At least one prom­i­nent critic has hailed it as a “mas­ter­piece of rad­i­cal per­for­mance.”

“The urge to de­stroy is also a creative urge,” Banksy pro­nounced on his In­sta­gram ac­count, where he posted a video about how he had pre­pared the shred­der hid­den in the frame.

The self-de­struc­t­ing paint­ing is “the first art­work in his­tory to have been cre­ated live dur­ing an auc­tion,” Alex Branczik, head of Sotheby’s Con­tem­po­rary Art in Europe, said of the in­ci­dent in the state­ment.

“Banksy didn’t de­stroy an art work in the auc­tion, he cre­ated one,” Branczik added.

The piece will be on view to the pub­lic at Sotheby’s in Lon­don on Satur­day and Sun­day.

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