Three years after the spectacular moment when a Banksy painting self-destroyed after being auctioned for more than a million euros, the iconic work will return to the same London room where it made history to search for a new owner.
The work will go on public display this weekend at Sotheby’s auction house in the heart of London, where it will go on sale on October 14 after embarking on a tour of Hong Kong, Taipei and New York.
Sotheby’s did not know it, but on that night of October 5, 2018 it was going to involuntarily become the scene of an unprecedented artistic intervention that attracted glances from all latitudes.
Seconds after the hammer blow, a beep from the back of the room where the newly auctioned Banksy painting hung, Girl with Balloon (“Girl with a balloon”), silenced the public. “It was not a common alarm at Sotheby’s, we were not familiar with the sound, and we were left wondering: ‘what is happening'”, Emma Baker, head of sales at the auction house, remembers that moment as something “. very dramatic. ”
“We turned around and saw that the canvas had slipped through the frame, through a hidden shredder, and we were completely perplexed, everyone was in shock,” he describes of a scene that ended with two technicians removing the painting. hurriedly.
Those present had just witnessed the metamorphosis of Girl with Balloon, sold for a million pounds (about 1.2 million euros / 1.4 million dollars) and instantly revalued by becoming a new work, half torn and more media if possible, entitled Love is in the bin (“Love is in the trash can”).
Three years exhibiting in various museums
The new owner of the painting took a few days to “process the experience” because she was “like everyone else”, in shock, admits Baker, but finally decided to keep the work, which already had “countless” bidders willing to buy it in case will be auctioned again.
“It has been an incredible journey to be part of the history of what has become one of the best-known works of art in the world, but now is the time to let it go,” says the owner of the painting, without revealing her identity, in a statement from Sotheby’s.
After three years of exhibitions in various international museums, Love is in the bin It returns to the auction house where it was born to be sold this time with a starting price of between 4 and 6 million pounds (4.7 million euros / 5.5 million dollars), a record for a Banksy.
This is an “attractive” sum, according to Baker, considering that the artist’s last auctioned work sold for 17 million pounds (19.8 million euros / 23.5 million dollars).
Perhaps the painting would not have this “cultural cache” if it had been completely torn, as Banksy had planned – as he revealed on his Instagram account – but his machination failed and that made the painting something “much more special” , says the expert.
Asked about another possible “scare” in the new auction, Baker says with a laugh that she hopes there will be “no more surprises”: “This time we have been working closely with Pest Control [organismo oficial de verificación de Banksys] and they are very transparent, but let’s keep our fingers crossed so that nothing happens. ”