Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Banksy shreds his own artwork after £1m sale at Sotheby's

Banksy shreds his own artwork after £1m sale at Sotheby's

The legendary street artist Banksy has booby-trapped one of his most famous works to self-destruct right after it was auctioned for over £1 million, in an apparent freakish prank at the Sotheby's Auction House in London on Friday.

In a screengrab of a conversation with the artist, he said: "I don't charge people to see my art unless there's a fairground wheel", in reference to his dystopic amusement park Dismaland, which he opened to the public for a fee in Weston-super-mare in 2015.

After the gavel fell Friday at Sotheby's auction house in London, Banksy's Girl with Balloon was reduced to shreds - another apparent act in the disruptive career of the anonymous British graffiti artist.

The framed stencil spray painting shows a girl reaching towards a heart-shaped balloon and had been the final piece sold, equalling Banksy's previous auction record of £1.04 million.

Alex Branczik, Sotheby's senior director and head of contemporary art, Europe London, said: "It appears we just got Banksy-ed".

"We are busy figuring out what this means in an auction context", Branczik added.

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"We have not experienced this situation in the past.where a painting spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a [near-] record for the artist".

A spokesperson for the auction house told the publication that they have been in touch with the purchaser of the piece, who was "surprised by the story".

"You could argue that the work is now more valuable", he said.

But perhaps, now known as the subject of one of the greatest pranks in the art world, Girl With Red Balloon will be worth even more in its shredded state.

The true identity of the Bristol-born artist has never been officially revealed despite wide speculation.

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