Which is more artful: The painted work, preserved forever on canvas; or the carefully orchestrated act of destroying said canvas?
Banksy implicitly asked that very question on Friday. An auction of the artist’s popular work, “Girl With Balloon,” ended with the shocking display of the the piece shredding itself immediately after the winning bid of 1.04 million pounds was cast.
It wasn’t an accident. The ornate frame containing “Girl With Balloon” apparently concealed a shredder. Once the auction ended — with a purchase price that was three times higher than expected — an alarm sounded and the secret shredder switched on.
Banksy shared a look at the shocking moment on Instagram, paired with the cheeky caption, “Going, going, gone….”
Hilariously, the Sotheby’s listing for “Girl With Balloon” notes that the frame is “an integral element of the artwork chosen by Banksy himself.” Now we know why!
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” Sotheby’s head of contemporary European art Alex Branczik told the Associated Press.
“We have not experienced this situation in the past where a painting spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist,” Branczik added. “We are busily figuring out what this means in an auction context.”
It’s not currently clear who the buyer was, or if they’ll be made to pay for their winning bid. Mashable reached out to Sotheby’s for further info, and we’ll update this story accordingly once we hear back.
[h/t Associated Press]