It can now be revealed that New Zealand itself has served as the raw material for one gargantuan deconstuctivist installation.
Many will be aware of the latest artistic stunt by subversive British street artist Banksy, the anonymous Scarlet Pimpernel of the art world. For those who missed it, a canvas and acrylic rendition of one of his famous street works, Girl With Balloon, was recently auctioned at prestigious Sotheby's.
A moment after the hammer dropped at an eye-watering $2.2 million, collective jaws on the auction room floor also dropped as the canvas mysteriously slid down within its own frame, passing through a cunningly concealed shredder to emerge duly filleted underneath.
An ashen-faced winning bidder had just seen a cool couple of mill reduced to ticker-tape.
But no! Once the initial shock subsides, perceptive members of the audience realise that Banksy has simply prankishly Banksied himself. Rather than the hapless bidder being massively out of pocket, Banksy's picaresque little exercise in artistic deconstruction has now actually increased its value.
Such is the arcane terrain of the postmodern, deconstructivist art world, and its conceptualising cerebral avant garde. Mere prosaic daubings such as the Mona Lisa, or even a Picasso Portrait of Dora Maar, are considered so obvious and passé as to be beneath contempt.
No, the discerning contemporary artistic consumer's eye now demands paradox, equivocation, self-contradiction, shape-shifting self-analysis and existentialist soul-searching. Pretentious audaciousness of an order sufficient to attract equally audacious showroom prices is also a must.
In recent years, daring conceptual artists such as Christo have taken their installations — as such works are generally called — to another magnitude. Christo demands the big picture for his work — a picture big enough to accommodate his obsession with large scale plastic wrappings. He's not welcome at Countdown.
He's wrapped whole islands in Florida, 3km of Sydney coastline, not to mention the Rheichstag in Berlin. For Christo, a wrap is a lot more than a $5 lunch.
But even artists of Christo's big-frame stature, or Banksy's guerrilla decontructivism, have already been massively out-conceptualised. It can now be revealed that New Zealand itself has served as the raw material for one gargantuan deconstuctivist installation that has been a creative work in progress for the last few decades.
A cartel of jaded minds, dripping with ill-gotten gains from global financial rorts, have been toying with Aotearoa as a diverting way to pass the time. It's rumoured they've titled their work The Big Shred.
Navigating labyrinthine layers of middle-persons, the Chronicle was finally able to talk directly — albeit blindfolded — with one of the artists.
"We saw a green and agreeable land, where rivers ran clean, traffic ran free, houses were affordable, kids could walk to school safely, every Sunday saw a roast on the table with potatoes, carrots and peas from your own garden, you didn't have to lock your door, and fairness and equity pervaded the air like the aroma from the sweet peas on the nearby trellis," the artists explained.
"Immediately we knew things had to change. Such bourgeois banality was an affront to any aesthete's sensibilities. We've laboured hard and long to deconstruct that nonsense. Now we're starting to see some dark at the bottom of the funnel.
"However, a few blemishes remain — the McKenzie Basin, for example. Virgin landscapes still abound, so we're packing the place full of dairy cows to lose the eyesore asap and get some good healthy pollution going.
"On the media front, oases of sanity still linger — such as Country Calendar.
That's got to go, so we've got a cooking show lined up where competitors have to cook naked and apronless using only a deep fryer, with each week's loser being flung off a nearby cliff. Fast-food advertisers are queuing up."
"Does your group have a name?" we queried.
"Sure," the unseen spokesperson responded. "We simply took Banksy's name, and deconstructed it.
"Just call us Banks ... as in, laughing all the way to them."