On October 5th, 2018 the British artist Banksy shredded one of his pieces after it was sold for the amazing amount of $1.4million at a Sotheby's action. The purchaser, who for now remains anonymous, decided to keep the artwork. Who could blame her? Yes... her... it is supposed to be a woman. After the display of ingenuity by Banksy, leaving the whole world in dismay... the act of destruction may have added a sweet $600.000 more to the value of the artwork.
As incredible as this story is... what I found interesting is how, after the video of the artwork being destroyed went viral, the image of the shredded "Girl with the Red Balloon" became an icon. The new meme began being used to bring attention to social issues on the social media over and over again. Twitter exploded with creative memes.
I do not believe this was the intention of the artist, who confessed that his plan had somewhat failed because the artwork was supposed to be completely destroyed by the shredding machine he had installed inside the frame, but ended up partially shredded.
As many of Banksy's stunts, this one also created an uproar of opinions. Some people got outraged, some tried to politely dismiss the prank as an attempt to add more value to the artwork, and some were highly suspicious of the whole thing, even trying to prove Sotheby's was in this from the beginning.
People may have different opinions but the fact is, he got the targeted attention he wanted and because of that the "creative minds" of the world decided to take advantage of his idea through this new meme.
In Brazil, where I was born and raised, the image of our national flag being shredded was used days before the presidential election.
The image of the United States Constitution was also used to bring attention to the chaotic political situation we find ourselves in right now.
To me all this proves, more than ever, is that art is, and will always be an incredible and powerful tool of communication. And... Banksy is definitely a genius when it comes to using this tool of communication. His art stunts reach millions of people around the world in a blink of an eye, getting an undeniable amount of attention.
Just pure genius!!!
"Art, when used to express ideas, opinions and desires can break down barriers, transform spaces, or even educate people in a very effective way. Art is a universal language that can touch masses and cross the barriers of language." (Roberta Pardo)
For now... I leave you with Sotheby's video of the actual prank.