The Girl With Balloon is gone. On Friday, October 5, one of Banksy’s best known works of art ended up going through a shredder. Just a few seconds after it auctioned for 1.4 million, the painting appeared to self-destruct at Sotheby’s in London. It was an incredible situation for all the people there. What happened next took everyone by surprise. Especially for the anonymous client that spent the money to buy the famous painting. And for Sotheby’s obviously.
It is the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself after coming under the hammer. Bansky later posted a video on his Youtube channel with the title “Going, going, gone”. The artist offered an explanation for his latest stunt. He did the opera a few years ago, in 2006. He secretly built a shredder into a painting in case it was ever put up for auction. By Saturday afternoon, the video had attracted nearly two million views.
The identity of the artist remains a secret and it has never been officially revealed. In 2008, the newspaper The Mail on Sunday suggested that Banksy was in fact Robin Gunningham, who was born in Bristol in the west of England. He dropped out of private school at 16 age devoting himself to street art. Banksy and the Gunningham family in Bristol have denied the connection.
“We never comment on identity issues,” said Ms. Brooks, Banksy’s public relations manager. As the artwork shredded itself, a seemingly unperturbed Mr. Barker, the auctioneer and Sotheby’s European chairman, said, “It’s a brilliant Banksy moment, this. You couldn’t make it up, could you?”