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Banksy’s Evolving Artwork: ‘Girl with Balloon’ to ‘Girl Without Balloon

Renaming and Reimagining a Shredded Masterpiece

Banksy’s iconic artwork, formerly known as “Love is in the Bin,” has undergone a transformation. The piece, which gained notoriety after it was shredded during a live auction at Sotheby’s in 2018, has been retitled “Girl Without Balloon” and given a new date of 2021.

The change came to light during preparations for the exhibition “Love in Paradise: Banksy and Keith Haring” in South Korea last August. Sotheby’s, which organized the exhibition, noticed the new title in the catalogue for the show. Pest Control, Banksy’s studio, did not provide an explanation for the name change.

Originally titled “Girl with Balloon” and created in 2006, the artwork famously self-destructed in Sotheby’s London saleroom in 2018. After negotiations with Sotheby’s, Pest Control renamed the half-shredded canvas “Love is in the Bin” and issued a new certificate of authenticity. The piece was subsequently sold to an anonymous European collector for £1.04 million.

In 2021, “Love is in the Bin” returned to Sotheby’s London for auction, where it sold for a record-breaking £18.5 million to an Asian collector. Following this sale, the work was retitled “Girl Without Balloon” and given a new date of 2021. Sotheby’s and Pest Control have not commented on whether a new authentication certificate was issued.

Nick Buckley Wood, the director of private sales at Sotheby’s in Asia, believes the name change reflects Banksy’s intention to create a new artwork rather than destroy the original. He emphasizes that the “destruction” of the work was symbolic and that physically, there was only one artwork.

Banksy’s “Girl Without Balloon” stands as a testament to the artist’s ability to challenge conventions and provoke thought. The evolving nature of the piece highlights the dynamic relationship between artist, artwork, and audience.