Was the art stunt of the century, carried out by the Street Artist Banksy, on the 5th of October an elaborate magic trick? or was it an expression of true anarchy? Much of the world now knows that a stencil spray-painting self-destructed when the frame turned into a paper shredder which remotely destroyed ‘Balloon Girl’ once voted the UK’s most popular painting, as the auction gavel came down on the lot at £850,000 (£1,000,000 including commission)
Now several experts have examined the footage released on the artist’s website and are calling into question the legitimacy of the mechanical shredder device built into the artwork’s frame.
The shredder is, in fact, a series of single X-Acto scalpel blades which face the wrong way to work.
An artist from Chicago, presented his theory with impressive attention to detail, his arguments about something being fishy with the accepted version of events certainly carry some weight. “What piqued my interest was really the appearance of the shredder device in his video,”
“I’m a maker, so the way it was presented as being constructed struck a sour note with me. I re-watched it several times and looked at stills, and it just didn’t make sense as a machine designed to shred a painting.” “I’m also a magician, and when I started looking at it as a performance rather than a documentation, that’s when it really clicked.” He added.
The painting which depicts a girl reaching towards a heart-shaped balloon was the final work sold at the auction, leading many to believe that Sotheby’s were in on the joke.
It is technically probable that the frame housed two rollers one containing the intact painting and one holding a partially shredded picture.
Much like a Penn & Teller magic trick it operated while people concentrated on the beeping noise and the bottom section of the picture spitting out the shredded artwork. In any event who cares, it certainly was the art stunt of the decade, no contest.