British street artist Banksy has stunned the art world with arguably his most audacious prank yet, self-destructing one of his best-known works moments after it fetched more than 1 million pounds at auction in London.
"Girl with Balloon" had just sold at Sotheby's for 1.04 million pounds when it unexpectedly passed through a shredder hidden in the frame.
Banksy posted a video last Saturday on his Instagram page accompanied by a quote attributed to Pablo Picasso -- "the urge to destroy is also a creative urge" -- showing the stunt unfolding and how the artist pulled it off.
"A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting, in case it was ever put up for auction," read captions displayed over footage of a man crafting the device into a faux-gilt frame.
The video later shows scenes from Sotheby's, where onlookers are left aghast as an alarm sounds and most of the image drops down through the frame and is left shredded.
"It appears we just got Banksy-ed," said Alex Branczik, Sotheby's head of contemporary art for Europe, in a press release.