Is Love Really in the Bin? Banksy’s Half-Shredded Painting Leads Sotheby’s Auction

Deepa Shrestha
Published on

The evening of October 14th, 2021, will be an eventful one at Sotheby’s. The auction house will present work by modern and contemporary artists such as Banksy, Alighiero Boetti, Cy Twombly, Kazuo Shiraga, and Gerhard Richter. Banksy’s famous half-shredded painting, Love is in the Bin, leads the lots. Many available works are controversial and thought-provoking. Auction Daily takes a look at some of the highest estimated items in the auction.

Banksy, Love is in the Bin, 2018. Image from Sotheby’s.
Banksy, Love is in the Bin, 2018. Image from Sotheby’s.

Love Is in the Bin, or Is It?

A little girl reaching out to a red heart-shaped balloon is one of the most recognized works of art today. Aptly titled Girl with Balloon, the series of stencil murals by Banksy started appearing around London in 2002. In a much-talked-about 2018 Sotheby’s live auction, an original painting of Girl with Balloon started slipping through a built-in shredder. It shocked everyone attending the sale except Banksy, who claims the act was premeditated. It sold for USD 1.45 million. The half-shredded work, now called Love is in the Bin, will go under the hammer again during Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in October. This time, it is estimated to sell for GBP 4 million to £6 million (USD 5.4 million – $8.2 million).

Banksy is a bankable name when it comes to contemporary art that stirs the pot. His works are for everyday people and appear in public places with an anti-establishment sentiment. This anti-establishment movement, however, started long before Banksy with artists like Marcel Duchamp. Banksy’s creations don’t appease but shed light on the culture that values something as art and devalues ordinary objects.

Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 1985. Image from Sotheby’s.
Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 1985. Image from Sotheby’s.

‘Abstraktes Bild’ From the Painter Without a Brush

Another notable lot in the upcoming Sotheby’s auction is Abstraktes Bild by Gerhard Richter. The auction house expects the painting will bring in GBP 5 million to £7 million (USD 6.8 million – $9.5 million). The title of this oil painting translates to ‘abstract image.’ It surely is an embodiment of Richter’s artistic reach. He is the painter without a brush. Richter uses bold colors and sweeping strokes to create his abstract paintings. All these colors seem to merge seamlessly, yet they co-exist without overpowering the others. Of his abstract paintings, he told Swiss curator and critic Hans Ulrich Obrist, “I blur things to make everything equally important and equally unimportant.”

Although from a different background and era, Richter holds a view similar to that of younger artists such as Banksy: an artist’s concern is never art but what art can be used for. Like life, the colors in Richter’s paintings mix the way happiness and sadness mix. His paintings are complete when he feels like nothing disturbs him anymore. Admirers of Richter’s work include Sonic Youth, a band that chose his art for an album cover, and photographer Cotton Coulson.

Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1981-82. Image from Sotheby’s.
Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1981-82. Image from Sotheby’s.

Untitled Twombly Drawings From the 1980s

The upcoming Sotheby’s auction will offer Untitled, a set of two drawings in color by Cy Twombly. It is estimated at GBP 2.5 million to £3.5 million (USD 3.4 million – $4.8 million). The untitled work seems to juxtapose perfect harmony and visceral drama with its vibrant colors. The American painter drew inspiration from romantic symbolism, Roman tales, and even blackboards. Twombly’s drawings are open to interpretation. To most, his art might look like a scribble or perhaps a doodle. Reverberating loops, seemingly uncontrolled swipes of colors, and illogical yet mapped-out themes spark curiosity in Twombly’s pieces.

Alighiero Boetti, Mappa,1978. Image from Sotheby’s.
Alighiero Boetti, Mappa,1978. Image from Sotheby’s.

Boetti’s ‘Mappa’ Embroidery Piece

Adding drama to Sotheby’s auction of contemporary art is an embroidery on canvas piece by Alighiero Boetti. The artist finished Mappa in 1978, a time of political flux. His travel to Afghanistan during the 1970s likely inspired him to create embroidered maps. The Italian conceptual artist wanted to create a momentary image of a world that was constantly transforming. In Mappa, Boetti depicts the natural positioning of the continents with the borders and national flags created by humans. The world appears on a canvas with dramatization, vibrant colors, and textures.

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale will take place live in London on October 14th, 2021. Bidding starts at 1:00 PM EDT. This dynamic annual sale will present a diverse selection of works by some of the most exciting artists working today, along with established masters of the 20th and 21st centuries. Visit Sotheby’s website for the complete catalog and to place a bid. 

Media Source
Writer
James Ardis
James Ardis
Senior Writer and Editor

James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

More in the auction industry