Li-Chen Loh, Director of MoCA TAIPEI
In 2018, a remarkable transformation of the renowned artwork Girl with Balloon by Banksy into Love is in the Bin, has continued to be an exciting topic of discussion in the contemporary art world. This discussion was not only fueled by the artist's fame and controversial actions but also by the disruptive nature of the piece, which goes beyond superficial spectacle. Moreover, it provokes a multifaceted discourse about the possibilities between artistic creation and the art market; between subcultures and mainstream culture.
Banksy's creations, known for their originality and subversive creativity, have captivated audiences worldwide. Using multi-layered stencils and spray paint, his street graffiti allows for swift and anonymous creation, reflecting on the antisocial and enigmatic characteristics that challenge and satirize current social conditions. His works range from street graffiti and conceptual sculptures to installations and films, addressing issues such as anti-war sentiments, anti-capitalism, state surveillance, concerns for gender, marginalized population, and social inequality, which he imbued with humanitarian concern.
Banksy's work Love is in the Bin has been hailed as one of the most representative contemporary art creations of the 21st century. The work in its previous form, Girl with Balloon, was one of the pieces Banksy initiated on the streets of London in 2002 using multiple layers of stencils and spray paint. The simple image of a little girl reaching for a flying red heart-shaped balloon has become one of Banksy's iconic symbols, appearing in numerous international social movements and human rights campaigns. The piece depicting the innocent girl with the drifting balloon seems to symbolize the gradual loss of innocence in society while reminding people to always hold onto hope.
In 2018, right after Girl with Balloon was sold at auction, a concealed shredder within the frame was activated, causing the artwork to partially shred into strips as it slipped out of the frame. While a malfunction of the mechanism left the work only partially shredded, it became the first artwork to be created at an auction event. Subsequently, Banksy's official representatives, Pest Control Office, issued a certificate for the piece, renaming it Love is in the Bin. The self-destructing work and its subsequent renaming exemplify his direct and precise reflection on the relationship between media influence, audience interest, and the value of artistic creation.
In 2023, as the world gradually recovered from the impact of the pandemic, the collector of this work hopes to offer the audience the opportunity to experience this globally discussed artwork through an international touring exhibition of Love is in the Bin, with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei (MoCA TAIPEI) as the first stop. MoCA TAIPEI has always been dedicated to responding to current social issues through art, and curating exhibitions that address topics such as politics, human rights, environment, and gender. These efforts align with the spirit of Banksy's works, which advocate for social justice, challenge capitalist hegemony, support freedom of speech, and promote human rights values.
In preparation for the arrival of this significant artwork in Taiwan, MoCA TAIPEI has devoted utmost care and attention to our facilities, and maintenance of the artwork. We extend our sincerest gratitude to our collaborative partners and organizations who promptly offered their professional assistance and valuable resources. We would like to express our deep appreciation to our esteemed partners, Louisa Coffee and Hui-Neng Chi Art and Culture Foundation, for their generous support. We are also grateful to Pest Control Office. We would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of Atelier Or, CosmoC Lighting, and the Architecture Department of Shih Chien University in designing the exhibition space at MoCA Studio, creating an immersive environment that allows visitors to fully engage in the artwork. Additionally, we extend our thanks to Sunway Express Co., Ltd. and Sotheby's for their advice and support in international transportation, and AUSPIC SELECT for their exclusive sponsorship of the paper materials. Our gratitude extends to ART ECHO mnews and The News Lens for their comprehensive coverage, as well as the continuous support and valuable suggestions from various sources, all of which have played a pivotal role in realizing this exhibition. We eagerly anticipate that this exhibition will provide the audience in Taiwan with an opportunity to witness the brilliance of Banksy's original piece and experience the profound impact this work creates.