Banksy, he said it himself, he did the great theatrical montage of the self destruction of Little girl with balloon in a auction in Sotheby's to denounce the commercialization of the art world. The great irony is that it has not only contributed to it but has magnified it. The painting has changed its name, now it's called Love in the bin (Love is in the garbage can), and it has ripped apart its value. From 1.18 million euros has been quoted at 2.2 million, thanks to the crusher.
Was there any doubt that the person who bid last Friday for the work -Identified as a European woman, collector of art- was going to stay with her? Of course not, whether or not it was in the garlic of the masterful staging.
Banksy's anti-system rebellion is linked to the gestures of Dadaism, Metzger, Surrealism and Duchamp
On the other hand, circulate all kinds of theories about whether the auction house was part of the conspiracy or not, because if yes they would open all kinds of questions about the ethics of their actions.
The directors of Sotheby's, in any case, are delighted with the publicity that the issue has generated, and if at any time they were angry with Banksy, the mosqueo has passed them soon.
"A work of art has not been destroyed, a new one has been created, worth twice as much as the original. It is the first artistic work in history developed live and direct at an auction, "said Alex Branczik, its director for Europe. Everyone happy, therefore. The creator, the buyer and the intermediaries. What more could you want? Long live the revolution!
"When I won the bid and Girl with balloon began to self-destruct, at first I was traumatized, because it was always my dream to have that work," said the owner of Love is in the garbage can -. But it did not take me long to realize that I had made my own niche in the history of art. " Apart, of course, from bending without moving a finger, in a matter of seconds, the value of your acquisition.
For lovers of conspiracy theories, there are many dark spots throughout the affair. The fact that the work was part of the last lot to be auctioned, usually an apostille. Its exhibition before the sale in a little flashy place and frequented, as if it were hidden. The huge and heavy Victorian gold frame that housed it, necessary to contain the crusher in its lower part. The presence in the auction room of an individual who recorded the event from the same angle that appears in the video later posted by the artist on social networks, and his remarkable physical resemblance to Robin Cunningham, which according to the newspaper The Daily Mail ( and numerous speculations) is the authentic name of Banksy. The painting, on the back, has an inscription that says Thank you, Jo. Could it be the buyer Jo Brooks, an old friend, publicist and defender?
The rebellion and the denunciation of the system have always been the essence of the Bristol artist
The graffiti artist and genius of street art has explained that he originally created the work twelve years ago with the built-in self-destruct system. But if this is the case – as several of the tertulianos in a debate of the BBC put it – the batteries would have died long ago. Some of the guests to the auction assure to have seen in the room to a mysterious type with glasses and an earring of gold that operated a species of remote control and that was removed of the premises by the employees of security. Banksy himself, or perhaps an accomplice of his?
The rebellion and the denunciation of the system have always been the essence of the Bristol artist, whose jokes have been the victims of some of the most important museums in the world. The Louvre found a smiley emoticon with the face of Mona Lisa; the Tate Modern, with a bucolic and pastoral scene turned into a scene of a crime; the British, with a human figure pushing a shopping cart in the middle of a prehistoric cavern; the Museum of Science in New York, with a beetle with missiles in the wings. His message is that art must be free and can not be framed.
Therefore, what greater subversion than placing a crusher in the frame itself? What better way to ridicule auctions and exhibitions, to make a joke about the way that art is seen, valued and perceived, to reclaim public spaces, without barriers, as the best and most natural way of expressing oneself, of doing pieces the conventional borders? "I can not believe that there are idiots who buy this shit," Banksy said in 2014, after Sotheby's sale of one of his creations.
Rebellious gestures and blows of effect like last Friday have numerous precedents in the history of art. In surrealism, in Dadaism, in the porcelain urinal that Marcel Duchamp renamed Fuente, in the German pacifists who eluded military service in the First World War and decorated the German and Swiss cities with their art of protest against a generation that He took his youth to the slaughterhouse, putting it in a crusher not of lie but real, in the name of "civilization".
In the Young British Artists, which were made of gold by putting sharks and cows in formaldehyde (Damien Hirst), or making an installation with a bed and the names of all the people with whom the author had slept (Tracey Emin). In Gustav Metzger, who painted with acid a white sheet on the South Bank of London. But one of the lessons of the real-time destruction of Girl with a Balloon – and the birth of Love is in the garbage can – is that the art market absorbs everything, including destruction, artistic terrorism and protest . That if he is accused of drowning in money, he doubles the price of the works of denunciation, and makes the criticism an investment.
"The impulse to destroy is a creative impulse," says Banksy, paraphrasing Picasso, while attacking capitalism decorating cities with kissing policemen, anarchists who throw flowers and hooded Guantanamo.