A shredded Banksy painting has sold for an enormous £16million at auction tonight.
The famous artwork, “Love is in the Bin”, was half sliced by a shredder concealed in its frame when it was sold at auction for three years ago.
Onlookers gasped when the then-titled “Girl with Balloon” was sucked into a shredder as the hammer fell following a bid of £1,042,000 at an auction at Sotheby’s in London in October 2018.
The work was then renamed “Love is in the Bin” and has gone under the hammer with a price estimate of £4-£6million – but sold for nearly three times that amount.
Tonight, it was bought for £16million – and without self-destructing.
Street artist Banksy, whose identity is a closely guarded secret, said on Instagram in 2018: “Some people think it didn’t really shred. It did. Some people think the auction house was in on it, they weren’t.”
The artwork, which was created in 2006, originally depicted a girl clutching for a balloon, but after being shredded, only the balloon remained in the frame.
The painting is accompanied by a Pest Control Certificate of Authenticity, the auction house said.
Sotheby’s said the work fitted into an illustrious history of anti-art including Marcel Duchamp’s anonymous submission of Fountain, a porcelain urinal remounted on a pedestal in 1917, to Ai Weiwei, who photographed himself intentionally dropping an alleged Han Dynasty urn.
Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s chairman of modern and contemporary art, said: “When Girl with Balloon ‘self-destructed’ in our saleroom, Banksy sparked a global sensation that has since become a cultural phenomenon.
“During that memorable night, Banksy did not so much destroy an artwork by shredding it, but instead created one.
“Today this piece is considered heir to a venerated legacy of anti-establishment art.”
In March, Banksy’s Game Changer painting sold at auction for £16.7million.
It depicts a young child ignoring his superhero toys in favor of playing with one representing a nurse and was painted as a tribute to NHS healthcare workers in the UK.
The highest price Banksy had previously generated at auction was £9.9 million, which was shelled out in 2019 for Devoted Parliament.
The artwork depicts MPs as chimps in the middle of a Commons session.