Art is subjective. And art pranks are even more mysterious, especially when notorious street artist Banksy is behind it all.
On Oct. 6, right after the Sotheby's auction ended with Banksy's painting "Girl With Balloon" earning an impressive $1.4 million dollars (roughly £1.04 million), the art piece self-shredded via a clever mechanism embedded in the frame by the artist.
However, now we know that a malfunction occurred and the shredding machine stopped halfway through the process. Banksy intended that the entire painting, not half of it, be destroyed when the shredder was activated by the gavel when it dropped at the end of the winning bid, according to a new video posted by Banksy.
In the video "Shredding the Girl and Balloon – The Director's half cut" posted to Banksy's YouTube channel on Wednesday, it is revealed that the shredding mechanism worked perfectly during other practice runs. The video states, "In rehearsals it worked every time."
Even though footage featured in the new video proves that Banksy (or someone from his camp) was at the auction when the shredding occurred, the video also states, "Some people think it didn't really shred. It did. Some people think the auction house were in on it, they weren't."
Sotheby's also released a statement saying that they had "no prior knowledge of this event and were not in any way involved" — but not everyone is convinced.
Art lovers continue to spread theories that the Sotheby's auction house itself was in on the prank. This is especially curious since Sotheby's employees immediately took the half-shredded art off the wall then took it into another room away from prying eyes.
"It is a different work to the one that appeared in the catalogue, but nonetheless it is an intentional work of art, not a destroyed painting," the Sotheby's spokeswoman told The Art Newspaper on Wednesday.
Perhaps in the end the real story isn't that Banksy destroyed his painting, but ended up creating a new piece of art after all even when it didn't go completely as planned.
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