When did creating become a drama for the world to see (ha, maybe the question is more when has it NOT been a drama?) When did it become a show of thrills, of spills, of how many ways the creator can mess with the viewer? When did it become part of the creative process to make the purchaser, the supporter, and the appreciator of your creation a victim of what could be termed artist imposed vandalism?
Or, perhaps there’s more to this whole scenario than what we see?
I’m sure you are all familiar with the Bansky painting that recently sold at auction for 1.4 million dollars and then, as soon as the hammer dropped, proceeded to “self destruct’ by being run through a shredder that was concealed inside it’s own frame. One article quoted says the following about the event:
“LONDON– The winning bidder for a Banksy painting (Girl with a Balloon) that self-destructed during an auction last week has decided to go through with the purchase, auctioneer Sotheby’s said Thursday. The auction house said a female European collector was the successful bidder, agreeing to pay $1.4 million for “Girl With Balloon.”
The article continues – “But just after the hammer came down, and to the shock of those in the saleroom, the bottom half of the work passed through a shredder concealed in the frame. Sotheby’s said the painting has now been retitiled “Love is in the Bin” and authenticated by Banksy’s Pest Control agency.”
“The buyer’s identity was not revealed but Sotheby’s quoted her as saying: “When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.”
“Alex Branczik, head of contemporary art for Europe at Sotheby’s, says it is “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.” CBS News, October 12, 2018
I find it significant that the entire incident, rather than be looked upon as a negative experience, is now seen as art work being “created live”. I wonder if this is from the same roots as the now fluid appreciation for graffiti artists, where as before, their “scratches” were seen as a crime (though it is still illegal in most cases, states, countries) – the stigma of it being a crime to tag a building or structure has lost any kind of crossing the line vibe. It’s a trend now, apparently as is shredding your own work much to the horror (or chagrin?) of your audience and buyer.
Is this where we have to go now, with our creation? Purposeful theatrics in order to make some kind of statement in an ever growing blase feeling in society towards what is and is not art or creation? Do we have to cross the line to make an impression, or can our creation speak for itself, as itself, as we present it – as a whole? And if so, if this is the road that creatives now face, just how far will we go to make that impression?
In later articles, Banksy was quoted as saying that the painting was supposed to be completely destroyed in this act of “art” – though I would say luckily for the buyer of the $1.4million piece, it didn’t work out quite as planned. And now, the value of the piece has no doubt sky rocketed. I wonder if that, too, was unplanned. I have to wonder if the ultimate idea was to make a statement that money can’t buy true creation, and that all things are destroyed eventually – making our little paper bills of no true value?
Whether coming to complete fruition or not, Banksy’s plot to make a splash certainly did work. The controversy and subsequent fame of this piece has hit the world, and I think will (fortunately or not) continue to cause ramifications for other creatives, posing the ultimate question in my mind … do we destroy just so we can create? Do we self destruct so that we can make a statement? Just how far does that self destruction need go?
While I understand that creatives do regularly “burn” their creations, sometimes in an almost ritualistic method, to make it such a public spectacle – and with such a high price tag – is pushing the boundaries of even that, I would purpose. Or is it?
What do you think? Would you stand by the purchase of an artwork or creation that turned to shredded canvas the moment you bought it? Would you shovel up the ashes of your once beloved sculpture and happily say it was a product of “making history”?
I guess we will find out soon enough for I am sure this will not be the last we see of such an epic display.
Sources: Sky.com (Image)