In what might be the cruellest prank in the history of the art world, Banksy has shredded one of his most well-known pieces after it was sold for £1 million at an auction.
The portrait, which shows a young girl reaching for a heart-shaped balloon, was encased in a gold frame.
It was unclear who had bought the piece, fuelling speculation that the enigmatic artist had been involved in the bidding process himself.
Banksy is well-known for not being well-known, having managed to hide his identity since he began creating often politically themed, stenciled pieces of street art in the 1990s.
The shredding is now part of the integral artwork, added Branczik. The art world is now trying to figure out whether the painting was destroyed or transformed, and whether its value was decreased or increased.
The purchaser is said to have been "surprised" after their newly acquired work was destroyed.
"We've just been Banksy'ed", Alex Branczik, senior director at Sotheby's told the publication.
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"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.
Banksy is known for his subversive public art installations and graffiti murals.
The 12-year-old painting had just been sold for 1,042,000 pounds ($1.37 million) - matching Banksy's all-time record. It was the last lot of Sotheby's "Frieze Week" evening which meant many in the room were filming the auction and captured the surprising events take place.
This isn't the first time he's pulled a prank, however.
Branczik maintains that he was not "in on the ruse" and speculated that the shredder may have somehow been triggered by Banksy if the artist was attending the auction incognito, according to Vice.