Banksy, the infamous and anonymous England-based graffiti artist rose to fame due to his satirical street art. His popular pieces of street art are not only well-known for its dark humor, but for its distinctive stenciling technique.
His masterpieces are displayed on visible places like walls and self-built physical prop pieces. The anonymous artist does not sell photographs or reproductions of his street art, yet art auctioneers often attempt to sell his artworks for a hefty price.
One of his popular works is the Balloon Girl which is depicting a young girl letting go of a red heart-shaped balloon. A variant of the mural was used in his 2014 campaign in support of the Syrian refugees. Just recently, a painting of the mentioned artwork became available in the market through an auction, and was sold in an astounding amount of $1.4 million.
After winning the much besought painting from other fierce bidders, surely, the triumphant bidder couldn’t wait to get their hands on Banksy’s masterpiece. Unfortunately, much to the surprise of the bidders and the public, they witnessed the painting be torn into pieces after passing through a shredder hidden inside the frame.
Apparently, Banksy installed a shredder inside the frame of the painting. Thus, when it was time for it to be taken down and handed to the winner, the painting passed through a shredder that left the masterpiece half shredded at the bottom, while its upper half remain intact.
The masterpiece, which is actually a young girl letting go of a red heart-shaped balloon was a spray paint and acrylic on canvas. People who were inside the Sotheby’s auction house in London were stunned to see the expensive painting pass through the hidden shredder. It took time for the audience to realize what was going on.
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director explained in a press conference.
Meanwhile, the world-renowned and mysterious artist posted a photo of the surprising event on his Instagram account. Along with the picture is a caption that says “Going, going, gone…”
In addition, Banksy also posted a video confirming the theory of other people that he was the one who secretly built a shredder inside the frame of the painting. According to the mysterious artist he did it in case the Girl with Balloon was put up for an auction, which, indeed, happened.
“‘The urge to destroy is also a creative urge’ – Picasso.” Banksy added this famous quotation along with the video he uploaded on his page.
Up until now, it is still not clear how the shredder was triggered. On the other hand, the senior director clarified that he was not working with Banksy and was also taken a back by what happened. Branczik shared his thought that the mysterious artist may have been there in the auction when the shredder was activated.
The Sotheyby’s auction house is currently discussing their next steps together with the unidentified winning bidder.
The winning bidder may have been disappointed, but the stunt Banksy triggered surely left a mark in the history of art. With his masterpiece being the first artwork that shredded itself after being sold in an auction. With this in mind, experts believe that the half-shredded masterpiece potentially increased its value.
Witness historic moment, which stunned the public, unfold before your eyes by watching the video below.
Instagram | Banksy and Sothebys