Art prankster Banksy has struck again.
A work by the elusive street artist self-destructed in front of startled auction-goers on Friday, moments after being sold for 1.04 million pounds ($A1.2 million). In an Instagram post Saturday, Banksy claimed the dramatic artistic payoff had been years in the making.
The spray-painted canvas Girl With Balloon went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London, fetching more than three times its pre-sale estimate and equaling a record price for the artist.
Then, as an alarm sounded, it ran through a shredder embedded in the frame, leaving half the canvas hanging from the bottom in strips.
A post on Banksy’s official Instagram account showed the moment – and the shocked reaction of those in the room – with the words “Going, going, gone…”
A video was later posted on the account, stating: “A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting in case it was ever put up for auction.” The video showed images of a shredder being implanted into a picture frame along with footage of Friday’s auction finale.
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Banksy’s spokeswoman, Jo Brooks, confirmed that the post was genuine.
Sotheby’s – which had noted before the sale that the work’s ornate gilded frame was “an integral element of the artwork chosen by Banksy himself” – appeared as shocked as anyone else.