We have no idea if this is legit or whether Banksy actually put a shredder in the painting but can we assume that he would not have made any money from the ‘sale,’ that Sotheby’s would have made a shitload of money, and that perhaps, as noted below, that Banksy may have taken exception to the fact that people were making so much money off Girl with Balloon, which “depicts a small child rendered in black and white who reaches out towards a bright red, heart shaped balloon dangling from a string.”
08 October 2018 | Banksy | Various
“Was Banksy at the evening sale at Sotheby’s on Friday night? That was the question on everyone’s lips when one of the Bristolian street artist’s paintings mysteriously self-destructed as the contemporary auction drew to a close.
Girl with a Balloon (2006) was the final lot of the night, and just as the canvas hammered at £953,829—exactly the same figure as the artist’s previous auction record, achieved in 2008—an alarm was triggered inside the work of art.
Onlookers turned just in time to see the canvas slip through its faux-gilt frame and be shredded into pieces.
(CD) — With a direct strike against the grotesque economic inequality that is ravaging societies around the globe, the artist Banksy pulled off a spectacular stunt Friday night when a piece of his artwork—a painting titled “Girl With Balloon” which had just sold for an outrageous $1.4 million—self-destructed right before the eyes of the shocked plutocrats viewing it at the Sotheby’s auction in London.
With a secret shredder hidden within the walls of the painting’s frame, the incident was capture live on video and Banksy himself used his Instagram feed to show the shocked look on the faces of those witnessing the moment as he declared: “Going, going, gone…” to his millions of followers.
Sotheby’s Catalogue Note
Banksy cited in: Paul Gough, Banksy: The Bristol Legacy, Bristol 2010, p. 9.
With its striking simplicity and raw immediacy, Girl with Balloon, 2006, is one of the most widely recognisable images by the anonymous and world renowned artist Banksy.
Unlike the other editioned iterations of this famous motif, the present work is a rare unique painting that was given to the present owner by Banksy in 2006 following the artist’s warehouse show, Barely Legal, in Los Angeles.
Beating Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire, Constable’s The Hay Wain and Hockney’s A Bigger Splash to the top spot, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon was voted the nation’s favourite artwork in a 2017 poll; a resounding affirmation of the broad and wide reaching popularity of this undeniably iconic and culturally formidable image.
Born in Bristol and based in England, Banksy has garnered international acclaim for his distinctive style of satirical street art and graffiti, executed using a technique of stencilling. His work is rich in dark humour and frequently captioned with subversive epigrams that provide poignant and potent commentaries on the social and political aspects of contemporary society.
Girl with Balloon depicts a small child rendered in black and white who reaches out towards a bright red, heart shaped balloon dangling from a string.
Like much of Banksy’s work, the image is an ambiguous one, leaving the viewer to decipher whether the girl is reaching out to catch the balloon – a vibrant emblem of childhood delight – or rather has let it slip from her fingers and is watching in anguish as it drifts into oblivion, a metaphor, perhaps, for the inevitable loss of childhood and innocence.
Composed in spray paint and acrylic on canvas, the motif is based on an original graffiti mural first painted outside a Shoreditch shop in 2002 and then on London’s Southbank that same year, this time accompanied by the epitaph ‘There is Always Hope’.
Bordered by an ornate gilded frame, an integral element of the artwork chosen by Banksy himself, the present work is a kitschy emblem of pathos.
Instantly gettable, Banksy’s graffiti image is a perfect encapsulation of human emotion for the short-attention span of our social media age: it seditiously pokes fun at high-minded art world savoir faire and in doing so appeals to many, for whom it represents a contemporary expression of sanctity, a bright and vivid symbol of hope everlasting. Ultimately, however, Girl with Balloon is the poster-child of Banksy’s art: whether you are for or against him, this image utterly encapsulates the immediacy and controversy surrounding the artist’s mission.
Original Link: Video