Banksy shocks art world by shredding £1 mn work at auction

The artwork was shredded moment after going under the hammer for $1.7m

Camera Icon The artwork was shredded moment after going under the hammer for $1.7m

After destroying his own artwork in the most Banksy of Bansky-esque stunts at Sotheby's auction house in London over the weekend, the Evening Standard reports that the piece has since doubled in value.

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

Yet Andipa, who has sold about 15 other painted versions of Banksy's Girl With Balloon, said he observed several oddities about the painting's sale that made him wonder whether Sotheby's had an inkling.

Speculation is growing that Banksy, the world-famous guerrilla artist whose identity remains unknown, was sitting in the Sotheby's auction in London on Saturday. While the act may have been in protest of the art market and the exorbitant prices paid for works of art at auction, experts declare that the value of the piece will most likely increase as a result of the performance.

After the incident on Friday, Banksy posted a video via Instagram that seemed to show how he set up a shredder in the painting.

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

Another film of the auction appears to have captured the artist himself videoing the artwork being shredded.

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Using art to drive these conversations is nothing new for Banksy.

It does not show how the shredder was activated, but it is thought to have been achieved through a remotely activated mechanism within the frame.

"A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting, in case it was ever put up for auction", read captions displayed over footage of a man crafting the device into a faux-gilt frame.

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

"We have talked with the successful purchaser who was surprised by the story", the auctioneers said in a statement to The Financial Times.

Banksy's works have often commented on the ridiculous nature of the contemporary art world, and the increasingly high values of his own works. In the years after World War II, German-born artist Gustav Metzger pioneered "auto-destructive art", creating paintings using acid that ate away the fabric beneath.

BANKSY'S identity is one of the biggest mysteries in Britain - so who is the mysterious street artists behind the latest Girl With Balloon stunt?

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