Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

Slice of Happiness: Banksy artwork sucked into a hidden shredder was bought for a record £ 18.6 million from Sotheby’s – four times the estimate

  • A Banksy canvas has sold for a record £ 18.6 million at Sotheby’s auction house
  • ‘Love is in the bin’ was created when ‘Girl with Balloon’ was sucked into a shredder that was mounted in the frame in 2018
  • The artwork returned to be sold today with a price estimate of £ 4-6 million


A half-shredded Banksy artwork has sold for £ 18.6 million – four times its estimate.

Spectators gasped as the then-title ‘Girl with Balloon’ was sucked into a hidden shredder as the hammer fell after a £ 1.04million bid at an 2018 auction in Sotheby’s.

The unique item, now called ‘Love is in the Bin’, by the anonymous street artist returned for sale today with a price estimate of up to £ 6 million.

But the artwork surpassed all expectations by selling for £ 18.6 million – a new record for a Banksy piece.

The sale, in which nine bidders battled for 10 minutes for the job, beat the previous £ 16.75 million record set for a Banksy in March.

'Love is in the Bin', a Banksy artwork that half-trimmed itself during an auction in 2018, has sold for £ 18.6 million - four times its estimate

‘Love is in the Bin’, a Banksy artwork that half-trimmed itself during an auction in 2018, has sold for £ 18.6 million – four times its estimate

‘Some people think it didn’t really flicker. It did. Some people think that the auction house was involved in it, they were not, ‘said the street artist on Instagram in 2018.

Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s head of modern and contemporary art, added: ‘When Girl with Balloon “self-destructed” in our saleroom, Banksy unleashed a global sensation that has since become a cultural phenomenon.’

‘During the memorable night, Banksy did not so much destroy a work of art by shredding it, but instead created one. Today, this piece is considered the heir to an honored legacy of anti-establishment art. ‘

Sotheby’s said the work fit into a famous anti-art story, including Marcel Duchamp’s anonymous submission of Fountain, a porcelain urinal reassembled on a pedestal in 1917, to Ai Weiwei, who photographed himself deliberately dropping an alleged urn from Han dynasty.

Spectators gasped as the then-title 'Girl with Balloon' was sucked into a hidden shredder as the hammer fell after a £ 1.04million bid at an auction in 2018 at Sotheby's

Spectators gasped as the then-title ‘Girl with Balloon’ was sucked into a hidden shredder as the hammer fell after a £ 1.04million bid at an auction in 2018 at Sotheby’s

When it was last sold in October 2018, the piece was known as ‘Girl With Balloon’, a picture that was first stencilled on a wall in east London, which has become one of Banksy’s most famous pictures.

But just as an anonymous European buyer came up with the winning bid, a hidden shredding machine framed in the frame by Banksy swirled into life, leaving half of the canvas hanging from the frame in strips.

But the artist himself has suggested that it was the intention that the whole work should be shredded out of the frame.

In an ‘exercise’ video describing the creation of the intricate frame for ‘Girl with Balloon’, the canvas is seen being cut up and falling to the floor at the touch of a button.

Sotheby’s says the work created in the stunt is ‘the ultimate Banksy work of art.’

Several of his works have sold for millions at auction. In March, a Banksy mural in honor of Britain’s health workers, first painted on a hospital wall, sold for £ 16.8 million at a Christie’s auction.

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