The balloon girl never stops talking about them and turning the printing press. Banksy’s canvas, whose partial self-destruction caused a sensation three years ago, was auctioned in London on Thursday 14 October for almost 18.6 million pounds (21.8 million euros), a record for the British artist.
In 2018, just after an initial purchase, a frame-breaker had torn the lower half of the canvas to shreds during the auction, already organized by the Sotheby’s house – the sale had just ended, at 1.2 million euros. This resounding action, which had provoked many reactions in the art world, was claimed by the mysterious street artist with the ambition to “Commodification” art. The work was then renamed Love is in the Bin (“Love is in the trash”).
“The most spectacular artistic event of the XXIe century “
Sotheby’s called for the destruction of “The most spectacular artistic happening of the XXIe century “, place it in the“Legacy of anti-establishment art that started with [le mouvement] dada and Marcel Duchamp ». “During this surreal evening three years ago, I accidentally became the privileged owner of Love is in the Bin », recalled the buyer, a European collector, quoted in a press release from Sotheby’s in early September. But now it’s time to share. “
On Thursday, bids turned around until, very soon after the start of the sale, they sprayed, the price for which the work was purchased in 2018. “I can not tell you how scared I am about hitting that hammer”, said auctioneer Oliver Barker, to laugh at the public, before auctioning off the work for £ 16million – plus nearly £ 2.6million in fees – at a private collector from Asia.
A diptych version secured on Friday
Even for sale was the graffiti, stenciled on a wall on the South Bank of London in 2002, named as Britain’s favorite artwork. Sales are greater than the previous record set in March by Game changer, another Banksy cloth with caregivers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, sold for 16.75 million pounds (19.8 million euros) for the benefit of the British Public Health Service.
Friday, a diptych version of The balloon girl will be filed, also in the British capital, this time at Christie’s. Produced in 2005, the fabric is estimated in two parts at between 2.5 and 3.5 million pounds sterling (between 2.9 and 4.1 million euros).
The artist, made famous by a series of graffiti that appeared on buildings, retains the mystery of his identity. In 2005, he made the graffiti The florist on a wall in Jerusalem, depicting a masked protester throwing a bouquet of flowers. In October 2013, he made the streets of New York his playground by drawing almost one job a day for a month, his fans becoming treasure hunters on his heels.
Banksy also uses his graffiti bomb to warn against opposition to Brexit, his support for migrants, or even the climate crisis.