Visitors and buyers at the auction of the iconic Banksy painting were left stunned, as it slowly started to pass through a shredder installed in the frame of the painting, and emerged out in strands before stopping midway. The incident took place moments after the hammer came down on the sale of the Girl with Balloon painting at the Sotheby auction house in London. The item was sold for $1.4 Million to a buyer whose identity the auction house refused to reveal.

The spray paint and acrylic on canvas artwork is considered to be one of the most popular images created by the artist. It depicts a young girl reaching her hand toward a red, heart-shaped balloon.

Bansky’s “Girl with Balloon”

It appears we just got Banksy-ed, said Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director and head of contemporary art in Europe. Sotheby’s said in a statement to the Financial Times: We have talked with the successful purchaser who was surprised by the story. We are in discussion about next steps.

Banksy, the world-famous artist whose identity is still a mystery, posted a photo of the shocking moment on Instagram, captioning the image, Going, going, gone…

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Going, going, gone…

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

 

 

 

He later posted another video of him covered in a black hoodie, working on building the shredder into the frame of the piece. He captioned the video, “‘The urge to destroy is also a creative urge’ – Picasso.”

 

Nobody knows how the shredder was actually triggered, but according to Vice, Banksy may have attended the auction incognito and somehow triggered it himself, while Branczik maintains that he was not in on the ruse

This certainly isn’t the first time an artist has destroyed his own painting. Political activist and artist, Gustav Metzger, pioneered the concept of auto-destructive art by creating paintings made with acid that corroded the fabric over time.

Banksy’s stunt will go down as one of the most historic moments in the world of art.
However, The Guardian noted that this historic stunt could potentially have considerably increased the value of the painting, which leaves us to wonder, was this really a win for Banksy?

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