The painting of a caricature of the British Parliament went under the hammer for £ 9.9 million at an evening auction of contemporary art in London and set a new record for Banksy's works.
At least ten buyers participated in the auction for the monumental work of Banksy, and as a result, in 13 minutes the price of the painting rose to £ 8.5 million (taking into account the Sotheby's commission, the final price was £ 9.9 million - this is $ 12.1 million) with Estimate £ 1.5–2 million. The new owner wished to remain anonymous and did not participate in the auction personally, but through one of Sotheby's employees, Emma Baker, head of the auction house sales department. Now this is the artist’s most expensive work - the previous auction record for the price of his work did not exceed $ 1.8 million (it was for this amount that the painting Keep It Spotless was sold at Sotheby’s auction in New York in 2008).
The image of the House of Commons - the lower house of the British Parliament, filled with chimpanzees, was created by Banksy in 2009 specifically for his exhibition in Bristol, then it was shown under the name "Question of Time". Since then, the artist made some changes to the picture and changed its name to the Devolved Parliament, which can be translated both as “Degraded Parliament” and “Parliament Passed” (in the second case, this is a purely legal term that means the transfer of some of the functions of the British Parliament to the autonomous parts of the United Kingdom, such as Scotland or Wales). Probably for about ten years, the painting, the largest easel work in Banksy's work at the moment, was in a private collection and recently, in March 2019, was again exhibited in the Bristol Museum (marking the anniversary of Banksy's famous exhibition there and at the same time pointing out the increasing relevance of the plot due to the approaching Brexit).
Most likely, the owner decided to sell the painting because of a sharp increase in prices and interest of collectors in Banksy's work after a year ago at the same auction of post-war and contemporary art Sotheby's his “Girl with a Balloon” (2002) began to self-destruct using the built-in the frame of the shredder activated by the remote control in the same trading floor. It was sold a few seconds earlier for £ 1.04 million. A week later, the organization Pest Control, which is engaged in the authentication and sale of works on behalf of the artist, officially recognized the rugged image cut by the shredder as a new work by Banksy with the new title “Love in the bin” ( 2018).
Right after the auction last night, an anonymous artist (it is not known who exactly - one person or group is hiding under the pseudonym Banksy) published a post on his Instagram account, quoting art critic Robert Hughes: “Art is designed to allow us to feel more clearly and intelligently. It should give us consistent experiences that we cannot experience otherwise. However, now the price of a work of art has become part of its function, its new task is to hang on the wall and become more expensive ... Suppose that every important book in the world would cost $ 1 million - imagine what a catastrophic effect this could have on culture. ” Banksy added from himself: “A new record for the price of Banksy’s painting was set tonight at an auction. It’s a pity that it still doesn’t belong to me. ”
Banksy is known for his leftist views and has repeatedly spoken out negatively about the modern art market, which is turning art into another segment of the global economy of consumption. However, each subsequent action of the artist only contributes to the increase in prices for his works, which allows critics to speak of the ambiguity of his position and call him the genius of marketing. So, just a couple of days ago, Banksy opened a showroom in an empty trading room in Croydon in the south of London. On this occasion, he also wrote an intriguing Instagram post: “I am opening a store today (although the doors do not actually open).” As it turned out, you can’t go to the store and buy something from his works there, but for two weeks you can look at them in the window of the new “store”, and then it will be possible to order them online.