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Banksy Painting Self-Destructs After Netting $1.4 Million at Sotheby's London

12 October 2018
Banksy Painting Self-Destructs After Netting $1.4 Million at Sotheby's London

At a London Sotheby's auction of his 2006 spray-paint work "Girl With Balloon", the artist rigged a secret shredding contraption into the base of the frame that destroyed the work via remote control.

"In case it was ever put up for auction..." But just after the hammer came down, and to the shock of those in the saleroom, the bottom half of the work passed through a shredder concealed in the frame.

Banksy said he had secretly built a shredder into the outsize gilt frame of the picture, activating it as the auction closed on October 5.

The clip shows him placing the blade and later cuts to footage shot inside the auction room of the moment the shredder does its job. And in true satirical Banksy fashion, he quoted artist Picasso in his caption: "the urge to destroy is also a creative urge".

When Forbes magazine estimated Banksy's personal wealth at around £14 million ($A26 million), he responded with regret, saying he wished his works were worthless. His name is Banksy and he thinks that art should not be prostituted by capitalism.

The "Girl with a Balloon" image, which first debuted in 2004, has become one of the artist's most iconic creations.

Sotheby's employees were stunned at the incredible Banksy stunt.

Branczik says the new work is "the first in history to have been created live during an auction".

A work by the elusive street artist self-destructed in front of startled auction-goers on Friday, moments after being sold for 1.04 million pounds ($1.4 million). Sotheby's would not reveal the name of the buyer of the work but, according to the New York Times, confirmed that the client was a private collector who placed the winning bid with a Sotheby's staffer via the phone. Its stencil has been repeated in an edition of 150 prints and 25 numbered paintings by Banksy. He called Banksy's prank "a turning point in the history of contemporary and conceptual art".

The famed anonymous artist pulled off one his most subversive stunts yet when a copy of his "Girl with Balloon" auto-shredded after being purchased at auction.

Acoris Andipa, an art dealer and Banksy specialist, described the stunning shredding as "spectacularly staged" and a "brilliant comment on the art market".