Banksy artwork self-destructs moments after selling for £1m at auction

10 October, 2018, 11:59 | Author: Eloise Houston
  • Banksy painting girl with balloon

Anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy has pulled off another stunt that seized the attention of the art world - this time at the expense of his own work.

So it's not entirely surprising that one of his most famous paintings, Girl With Balloon, selfdestructed after selling for more than $1.86 million at a Sotheby's auction in London.

Banksy initially shared an image of the artwork being shredded on Instagram and captioned it "going, going, gone".

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed", Alex Branczik, Sotheby's senior director, said in a press release from the auction house. Just moments after the painting was sold at auction for 1.4 million dollars, the shredder activated to the horror of the packed auction house.

The spray paint and acrylic work on canvas and mounted on board - which was created in 2006 after first appearing as a mural in East London-depicted a girl reaching out toward a bright red, heart-shaped balloon.

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Video shot by an attendee showed two Sotheby's workers remove the painting, partially shredded and hanging from the frame, from the wall and whisk it away.

The art world has been stunned by the latest prank by elusive artist Banksy. Maybe people should've suspected something was suspicious when the artwork sold for the exact same figure as the artist's previous auction record in 2008.

Though street art by nature doesn't typically lend itself well to commercial auctions, the cult following which has grown up around Banksy has brought with it an intense demand for his work. As the painting found its way through an apparent opening in the bottom of the frame, it was being shredded.

"We have not experienced this situation in the past where a painting spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist", Branczik added.

Banksy is a Bristol-born artist whose true identity - despite rampant speculation - has never been revealed. He called Banksy's prank "a turning point in the history of contemporary and conceptual art".

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