When the above phrase was uttered to the agents in the TV and Film adaptations of Mission Impossible they all knew what they were expecting and with cool resolve did not overreact. What about something though that self-destructs when you are not expecting it, indeed something that causes shock and surprise? Last week the well-known, yet consistently illusive, artist, Banksy, pulled off one of the greatest artistic stunts of our age. A painting of his, ‘Girl with Balloon’, was actioned for over a million pounds. Moments after the hammer struck on the sale the painting started to go down through a shredder which had been concealed in the frame. It was a moment of shock and surprise, not least for the auction house and buyer. You can watch the moment here.
3. Only once
There can be no repeats of this outstanding piece of theatrical art. There will be attempts that will try to mimic or recreate this moment. But there is only one shredded painting; the rest will only be fakes.
I imagine that art dealers will be a tad wearier of larger than normal frames. More pertinently though. Whenever someone tries to repeat a stunt like this it will only be artistic plagiarism. This is a one-time moment in the world of Art. Even from my layman’s perspective I can see that.
I recall to this effect a story from 2014 that involves the dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Weiwei had an exhibition in Florida which had multiple vases by the artist and behind them were pictures of him Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn and it smashing. A man by the name of Maximo Caminer tried to get in on the action by smashing one of the vases by Weiwei. Though Caminer, 51, thought he was emulating the art on exhibition Weiwei the authorities saw it much differently. He was charged with criminal mischief after breaking the $1m vase. You can read about it here.
There can only be one Weiwei and his vases and there can only be one Banksy and their shredder.
The moment in history stands and it defines history thereafter.
Whatever your outlook on faith, there is one defining point in world history, one for which there can be no imitations or recreations.
A man from Nazareth, a carpenters’ son, has shaped history as we know it. Our calendars date from him and history points to him.
Banksy may have turned the art world upside down but this man, Jesus, turned the whole world as we know it upside down. He has turned my world upside down since I encountered his love as a teen.
While Banksy remains secretive and allusive the Jesus is someone we can know and encounter as we read the same bible that I referenced yesterday and before.
If you think a shredder can turn things around – wait until you read the this book!
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword” Hebrews 4:12