People Think They've Worked Out Who Banksy Is After Self-Destroying Painting Was Sold
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We've all seen it now, thanks to events in London at the famous auction house Sotheby's, where a print by anonymous Bristolian graffiti artist Banksy has just been sold for close to £1m.
Suddenly, as soon as the sale was confirmed, a remotely activated hidden shredder in the bottom of the picture frame turned on and the painting that had just been bought for a huge sum slowly shredded, emerging in pieces through the bottom of the frame.
Hilarious stuff - a very clever little dig towards the art community at how huge amounts of money change hand for something as essentially useless as a print of a girl holding a balloon.
However, could it have been a bit too clever for the artist's own good?
Firstly, is everyone supposed to believe the piece wasn't checked by experts and appraisers beforehand? Is this not the kind of thing that they might have spotted? Surely a shredder in the bottom of the frame must be a bit heavy.
That probably means that Sotheby's is completely in on the joke, which changes the nature of the statement being made entirely.
Secondly, in creating the scene and the stir around the picture, it's now probably actually worth more than it was. That can't have been the point either, can it? Actually, that's pretty likely.
Which brings us to the real issue.
In performing the stunt, Banksy might have revealed his identity to the world, after years of trying desperately to hide it. I mean, graffiti is - broadly speaking - illegal, after all.
So, for those not familiar with the battle to 'out' Banksy's real identity, there are a few candidates.
A name that keeps cropping up repeatedly is Robin Gunningham. He's a street artist from Bristol - so far, so plausible.
Naturally, he's denied all allegations and refuted claims that have been floating around since about 2008.
Now, straight after the stunt at Sotheby's, there was a video posted online that showed the moment the shredder kicked in.
In the foreground at one point is a person taking a photo on their phone who matches exactly the description and features of one Robin Gunningham, no less. That photo appears to be from exactly the same vantage point as one that was later posted on Banksy's Instagram with the caption: "Going, going, gone..."
Coincidence? You be the judge.
The man in the video is here.
Here is the photo from Instagram.
Obviously, it's not conclusive proof by any stretch of the imagination, but it's good enough for people online to start wondering about it.
Other suspects include Massive Attack musician Robert Del Naja. He's also a graffiti artist and from Bristol. Don't worry, loads of people think they've seen him there yesterday too and saw him leave quickly.
In case the real Banksy is reading this, nobody has a fucking clue still, really.
Curiosities were piqued during an interview between famous drum and bass musician Goldie and podcaster/poet/musician Scroobius Pip.
Goldie accidentally referred to Banksy as 'Rob'. Now, is that Robert, or Robin?
Perhaps it's better if we never know...