Banksy has revealed how he concealed a shredder in the frame of one of his most iconic works – the day after it was destroyed at auction.
The street artist shared a video on Instagram explaining how he “secretly” rigged the Girl With Balloon frame to self-destruct the very moment after it was sold for £1.04 million in Sotheby’s auction house.
It was unclear who had bought the piece, which has fuelled speculation that the enigmatic artist had been involved in the bidding.
Banksy’s video was captioned: “A few years ago, I secretly built a shredder into a painting.”
The footage shows a hooded figure putting the finishing touches on the device, before text appears on the screen saying: “In case it was ever put up for auction.”
Camera-phone footage from inside the auction house in London then follows, showing crowds gasp at the moment a siren sounded as the gavel hits.
The stenciled spray paining – which depicts a girl reaching towards a heart-shaped balloon – suddenly passes through the concealed shredder and is seen hanging limply from the frame.
Two auction house attendants rush over to removed the painting from view as a mystery man films the stunt.
Banksy addressed the initial incident with an Instagram picture of the stunt’s aftermath with the caption: “Going, going, gone…”
The £1.04 million sale of Girl With Balloon was the last lot of the night and equalled Banksy’s previous auction record.
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” admitted Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director and head of contemporary art in Europe.
The Bristol-born artist is revered for his subversive pieces.
Despite rampant speculation, has never officially revealed his identity.
He rose to prominence through a series of satirical graffiti pieces that appeared on buildings across the country.
Friday’s self-destruction was the latest in a long history of anti-establishment stunts.
They included the opening of Dismaland, his dystopian, Disneyland-esque theme park in 2015, which he described as a “family theme park unsuitable for children”.
Girl With Balloon had initially appeared on a wall in Great Eastern Street, London.
The gallery version featured spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on a board.
Sotheby’s declined to reveal who had bought the piece before it was shredded.