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New Banksy auction confirmed with promise no works will shred or explode

11 October 2018

Girl With Balloon, which depicts the image of a lone young girl stretching to reach out to a red balloon, is one of Banksy's most iconic works and has enjoyed a consistent appreciation in value.

"You could argue that the work is now more valuable", said Alex Branczik, Sotheby's head of contemporary art, Europe.

After the gavel fell on his "Girl with a Balloon" painting at Sotheby's London for $1.4 million, the artwork dropped through a shredder in the frame, reducing half of it to ribbons. The video is captioned with a quote by the Spanish artist Picasso, who had said the urge to destroy was also a creative urge.

There's no word on how the shredder started operating at the key moment after the auction, though it could have been activated by a remote mechanism.

The bidding climbed to an extraordinary US$1.4 million, an amount that tied the artist's own auction record from 2008.

Banksy's Girl With Balloon (2006) self-destructed at the end of a Sotheby's auction.

Koukjian, who has met Banksy, said he is sure he caught a glimpse of the artist in the saleroom amid the confusion of the moment.

A shadowy figure purported to be Banksy in a scene from the film Exit Through The Gift Shop.

The auction house noted that the frame was a selling point for the work of art.

"You'd nearly wonder if he'd recognize the fact that it would've doubled the value of the work", Benrimon adds. In that a shredder concealed within--as Banksy later confirmed through a video--ripped the artwork into shreds as the gathering first gasped in disbelief and shock, and then cries "It's so cool" could be heard above the din.

The post, and reports of a man dressed in black sunglasses and a hat scuffling with security guards near the entrance to Sotheby's shortly after the incident, led to speculation the artist was present to trigger it.

However, he also expected that, given all the media attention on the Sotheby's stunt, Banksy probably only added to the shredded piece's allure.

The auction house said it would be discussing next steps with the buyer over the coming days, but some experts say the stunt would cause the shredded work of art to increase in value.

New Banksy auction confirmed with promise no works will shred or explode