Art prankster Banksy has struck again.
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). In an Instagram post Saturday, Banksy claimed the dramatic artistic payoff had been years in the making.
A video was later posted on the account, stating: “A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting in case it was ever put up for auction.” The video showed images of a shredder being implanted into a picture frame along with footage of Friday’s auction finale.
“We have not experienced this situation in the past . where a painting spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist,” Branczik said. “We are busily figuring out what this means in an auction context.”
Geneva-based artist Pierre Koukjian, who was at the auction, said the buyer was “very lucky” to own a now-historic piece. He called Banksy’s prank “a turning point in the history of contemporary and conceptual art.”
“What he did is really shocking, in a good way,” Koukjian said. “I think it will be historic and people will talk for a long time about it.”
Banksy is not the first artist to deconstruct his own work. 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, who has never disclosed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world‘s best-known artists. His mischievous and often satirical images include two policemen kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words “Laugh now, but one day I’ll be in charge.”
He also has a penchant for elaborate pranks.
In 2005, he hung an image of a spear-toting ancient human pushing a shopping cart in the British Museum, where it remained for several days before being discovered. The next year he smuggled a life-sized figure of a Guantanamo Bay detainee into Disneyland, and in 2015 he erected a full-scale dystopian theme park — “Dismaland” — by the British seaside.
“Girl With Balloon,” which depicts a small child reaching up toward a heart-shaped red balloon, was originally stenciled on a wall in east London and has been endlessly reproduced, becoming one of Banksy’s best-known images.
Copyright Associated Press