Welcome back to the strange and ongoing story of Banksy’s Girl With Balloon, aka Love is in the Bin, aka probably the world’s priciest intentionally damaged work of art. When last we spoke of it, the unknown collector who bought it seconds before it was partially shredded had decided to keep it. Today, the artist who created (and wrecked) it has released a video called “Shredding the Girl and Balloon — The Director’s Cut.”
The video, which runs a mere three minutes, expands on the previous video, showing more of the shredder being surreptitiously installed in the frame, more of the patrons of Sotheby’s obliviously drinking champagne and chatting before the now-infamous auction, more of the auction itself, and more of the shredding itself. Banksy also edits in a shot of a mysterious someone’s hands (his, or maybe a stand-in) pressing a button that sends the painting through sharp teeth. (The shot was clearly filmed later.)
The video’s only major revelation comes at the end: The words “In rehearsals it worked every time…” fill the screen, followed by footage of a dummy Girl With Balloon sailing through the shredder in full, resulting in an entirely damaged work.
That seems to confirm what some had suspected: That none of Girl With Balloon was to have survived, that half of it wouldn’t hang out of the frame, that it was never supposed to be considered partially destroyed but also partially salvaged.
Banksy posted the video on his site, but also on his Instagram, with a caption that read, “Some people think it didn’t really shred. It did. Some people think the auction house were in on it, they weren’t. [sic]”
So is Girl with Balloon, which Banksy re-christened Love is in the Bin, a semi-success or a semi-failure? Or is it a total failure? Or is it a total success, just not in the way it was intended? Whatever the case, the painting still turned into a cash cow, lining his and Sotheby’s pockets. Banksy created not only history but a work of history that will live on. Hell, it might one day hang on a wall in a museum exhibit on anti-art, inches from Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain.