It was just a matter of time: Banksy's unfortunate piece of work “Love is in the Bin” would reappear on the auction market. Three years ago, this spray painting by the English graffiti artist with his famous “Girl with Balloon” motif had shredded itself lengthways at an auction at Sotheby's, so that its lower half now hangs around in the form of delicate flounces. The action was triggered remotely by a mechanism built into the frame. Banksy himself took over responsibility for a video shortly afterwards, with the somewhat vague statement in retrospect that it worked every time during the rehearsals. What, actually, can be asked today? The supposedly planned complete destruction of the image, as demonstrated at the end of this video - or what actually happened in the end:namely the production of a kind of moderately aesthetic curtain, exactly halfway between the balloon and the girl.

The contract for the still intact plant had already been awarded at £ 860,000. The unnamed European collector nevertheless paid a premium of a million pounds after she was convinced that something that had apparently never been seen had happened: the creation of the first self-destructive work of art, moreover during an auction, in a sense a high mass of commerce in the art market. Banksy, for his part, was happy to help by subsequently authorizing the creation, now as "Love is in the Bin". Under this title, the thing was then presented to the astonished audience in the Burda Museum in Baden-Baden, after which it was even loaned to the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.

So now it's back! Again at Sotheby's in London, this time with an estimate of four to six million pounds, at least four times the price in 2018. That is sassy - and because the global art market is completely humorless, it is certainly not meant as a good joke. In addition, the to this day anonymous creator Banksy, currently blossoming into new activity, is at the height of its market value; "Love is in the Air", a spray painting of his well-known "Flower Thrower" motif, was honored with 12.9 million dollars in New York in May. And anyway it had to be quick with the "love in the bucket" before the number completely petered out; Without the pandemic year, things would certainly have gone even faster. But the moment now is not bad either, so much money wandering around the world wants to be accommodated, no matter what the cost.

The company Sotheby's, which in 2018 clearly distanced itself from any knowledge of it, willingly seizes the second opportunity. That is why the fringe piece - “This work of art is unique” - will be sent on tour to Hong Kong, Taipei and New York before it will be called up again in London on October 14th. Of course, Banksy's coup would only be credible if the built-in shredder woke up again, as it were, and completed its task, to the great enthusiasm of a new buyer.

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