Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Dora Pope

Banksy Painting: Who Knew It Was 'Self Destruct'?

Banksy Painting: Who Knew It Was 'Self Destruct'?

The famous graffiti artist Banksy, known for his political and controversial street art, has the art world abuzz with theories on how he pulled off his latest stunt-the live self-destruction of his painting at Sotheby's London's contemporary art auction on Friday, October 5. It has become one of Banksy's most celebrated and coveted creations, the stencil being repeated in an edition of 150 prints and 25 numbered paintings, as well as an unknown number of unique spray paintings in different sizes with variations, of which Sotheby's $1.4-million painting was one. It happened at Sotheby's in London, when the Banksy work was the last to be bid on, and eventually sold, for a grand total price of $1.1 million.

The auction record for a living male artist is US$58.4 million for a Jeff Koons sculpture.

Branczik said he was "not in on the ruse", according to The Art Newspaper. In an Instagram post Saturday, Banksy claimed the dramatic artistic payoff had been years in the making.

"In case it was ever put up for auction..."

Another film of the auction appears to have captured the artist himself videoing the artwork being shredded.

"We are busy figuring out what this means in an auction context ..."

His name is Banksy and he thinks that art should not be prostituted by capitalism.

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While Banksy failed to share how the shredder was set in motion, those who attended the Sotheby's event noticed a odd man inside the crowd, prompting rumors that the destruction mechanism was activated by the elusive artist himself.

It opened with the caption: "A few years ago, I secretly built a shredder into a painting".

Geneva-based artist Pierre Koukjian, who was at the auction, said the buyer was "very lucky" to own a now-historic piece.

A buyer would not normally be expected to go through with the purchase if a work is damaged while in the care of an auction house.

Mehdi Ben Cheikh, a Parisian street art specialist, said the stunt was "in the same vein as his performance in NY, which questions and criticises the limits of the art market".

Banksy's works have often commented on the ridiculous nature of the contemporary art world, and the increasingly high values of his own works.

"He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius".

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