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Banksy's 'Girl with Balloon' was meant to be shredded completely

Allegedly.
Rachel England, @rachel_england
October 18, 2018
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Banksy's latest performance piece -- which saw him remotely shred his $1.1 million Girl with Balloon canvas seconds after it sold at auction -- captivated the world. What was he trying to say? What did it all mean? Was this a comment on capitalism? On the fickle nature of the art world? The essential meaninglessness of life as we know it? Hard to say, although we do know that the half-shredded canvas is now worth considerably more as a result of the stunt. However, it seems that the trick went wrong –- the canvas was supposed to be destroyed entirely.

In a "director's cut" video posted to Banksy's YouTube channel yesterday, a caption reads "In rehearsals it worked every time" before footage of a canvas being completely shredded is shown. If this was Banksy's real intention, it's not a huge surprise it went awry. The artwork was allegedly given to its previous owner back in 2006, so 12 years is a long time for a built-in shredder, batteries and radio to sit in wait for a one-time use. But Banksy is a clever guy -- surely he'd have thought of that? Plus there are already rumours that auction house Sotheby's was in on the entire thing. Perhaps, then, he's making a point about the obsolescence of technology versus the permanence of art? Or maybe he just wanted to screw around -- you never know with Banksy.

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