Banksy has revealed how years ago, he installed a shredder into the frame of one of his most iconic paintings, which self-destructed at an auction last week.
As people watched the artist’s famous stencil spray painting ‘Girl with Balloon’ go under the hammer at Sotheby’s Auction House in London on Friday (October 5), they were shocked as it suddenly went through a shredder hidden within the frame.
The stunt happened immediately after the work was auctioned off for $1.1 million (£838,418). It’s not currently known whether the shredding has increased the value of the piece.
You can watch the moment here:
Sharing a video on Instagram yesterday (October 6), Banksy revealed he placed the shredder into the frame ‘a few years ago in case it was ever put up for auction’.
In the footage the artist can be seen building the shredder, placing it inside the frame.
He claims the shredder was operated by a remote device. If Banksy himself was present at the auction house with it, he may have inadvertently revealed his true identity?
Check out Banksy’s video here which has gone viral receiving over five and a half million views at time of writing (October 7):
Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director and head of contemporary art in Europe, was taken aback but not surprised by the twist admitting, ‘it appears we just got Banksy-ed’.
He told The Art Newspaper:
He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius.
We are busy figuring out what this means in an auction context. The shredding is now part of the integral artwork. We have not experienced a situation where a painting has spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist.
You could argue that the work is now more valuable. It’s certainly the first piece to be spontaneously shredded as an auction ends.
Well no one has a mind quite like Banksy’s.
The artist has a long history of making anti-establishment statements.
During the 2017 UK general election he famously offered voters a free print if they cast a ballot against the Conservative candidates standing in the Bristol North West, Bristol West, North Somerset, Thornbury, Kingswood and Filton constituencies.
Being no stranger to controversy, Banksy has famously kept his identity hidden from the public, starting an unanswerable debate regarding who is under the hoodie.
However, DJ and actor, Goldie, may have given us a clue, dropping the name ‘Robert’ into a conversation about Bansky.
People believe the ‘Robert’ he is referring to is Robert Del Naja, a British artist and musician best known for being the founding member of Massive Attack, who’s been in the same circles as Goldie for years.
The rumour Del Naja is Banksy is popular seeing as Banksy murals have popped up in locations where Massive Attack have played.
But is it just a coincidence? I hope we never find out!
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.