The art world was left in shreds when Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon — one of the artist’s most famous works depicting an image of a girl releasing a red balloon — self-destructed. The painting was the final item to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London, which was sold for just over £1 million (RM 5.45 million). Onlookers stood petrified as the canvas passed through a shredder, operated by a remote-control mechanism, installed in the frame.
This you already know.
Just slightly less than 24 hours ago, however, the anonymous street artist posted a video on his (or her, or their, who knows?) Instagram page which explained how a shredder was secretly installed in the frame. And in true satirical Banksy fashion, he quoted artist Picasso in his caption: “the urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”
The clip shows a hooded figure putting finishing touches on the shredder, before text appears on the screen saying: “In case it was ever put up for auction.”
The painting, “a framed work, spray paint and acrylic on canvas”, was a 2006 reproduction of the iconic image painted on a wall in Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch in 2002. According to a report in The Verge, “it was covered up for many years before it was removed in 2014 and sold at auction the following year. Other copies of the painting have been auctioned over the years.”
The auction house has declined to reveal the identity of the buyer, a private collector who was bidding through a Sotheby’s staff member on the phone. John Brandler, director of Brandler Art Galleries has described Banksy as “the ultimate publicity artist” and said the stunt was “absolutely brilliant”.
The Instagram video has gathered 6.2 million views at the time of writing.