A painting sent through a shredder at the moment of its auction sale has been officially confirmed as a work by street artist Banksy in its destroyed state.
Pest Control, the authentication body for the anonymous street artist, has verified that the painting – now partially sliced into thin strips – is itself a new original artwork.
"The new work has been granted a certificate by Pest Control, Banksy's authentication body, and has been given a new title, Love is in the Bin," reads a statement released by Sotheby's.
Banksy posted a video to his Instagram account last week after one of his best-known paintings was shredded just seconds after it was sold in an auction at Sotheby's in London, confirming that the move was intentional.
"A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting. In case it was ever put up for auction," read the text cut between shots.
View this post on Instagram
In the video, a white man wearing a hoody fixes a row of razor blades into the back of a traditional gilt frame, before laying the back board over the razors.
The video is captioned with a quote from Picasso: "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." It has been watched more than 12 million times.
An image of the auction room was also posted by Banksy's Instagram account at the moment the gavel fell. The caption, "Going, going, gone...", is a pun on the typical words of an auctioneer.
The incident took place in an evening auction at Sotheby's last week. The piece, which was listed as Girl with Balloon in the sale catalogue, started to destroy itself at the exact moment the auctioneer announced that it had sold for £1,042,000.
"It appears we just got Banksy-ed," said Alex Branczik, Sotheby's European head of contemporary art.
Sotheby's staff and art buyers in the room looked shocked, and the event sent ripples through the art world. Speculation has focused on whether the auction house knew that the spray paint and acrylic on canvas painting would self-destruct – something that Sotheby's denies.
After initial uncertainty, the buyer has now accepted Love is in the Bin.
"When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realise that I would end up with my own piece of art history," said the buyer.
Image is courtesy of Getty.