One of the most expensive painting auctions in the world ended with the painting automatically shredding itself at Sotheby’s in London.
On October 5, a spray-painted and acrylic piece titled “Girl with Red Balloon” of England-based street artist Banksy, was auctioned at Sotheby’s in London. The painting, is of a little girl extending her arm out for a heart-shaped balloon tied with a thread at little distance from her hand.
An extraordinary amount of $1.4 million was reached during the bidding — the amount tied the artist’s own auction record from 2008 — and finally, a hammer pounded to signify the end of the auction.
Just after the auction, the painting’s canvas began scrolling down from the frame shredding into vertical strips! Later, Sotheby’s explained that there was an inbuilt shredder in the frame.
The audience was left surprised as the most expensive painting shredded itself, unwilling to get sold, expressing that the art is priceless. Banksy had a few years ago secretly built a shredder into a painting, in case it was ever put up for auction.
Banksy uploaded a 58-second video, on Instagram and wrote, “’The urge to destroy is also a creative urge’ – Picasso.” In the video, the artist can be seen installing a shredded into the canvas.
It is not known who bought the painting or how the buyer might react to the trick. Neither has anyone been able to disclosed the meaning behind the act of shredding the painting.
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” Sotheby’s senior director Alex Branczik said in a statement that described the incident as “the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself after coming under the hammer,” The Washington Post reported.
“We are busy figuring out what this means in an auction context,” Branczik told Art Newspaper. “The shredding is now part of the integral art work. We have not experienced a situation where a painting has spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist.”
Banksy is an anonymous England-based street artist, vandal, political activist, and film director. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.
The graffiti artist’s real name is believed to be Robin Gunningham, who was born on July 28, 1973, and hails from Bristol.
(With inputs from Agencies)