Banksy's latest act of rebellion saw one of his most famous paintings shredded in front of wealthy hopefuls who had been bidding for it at an auction.

The secretive artist's Balloon Girl shredded itself in a shocking display of wanton destruction after it had been sold for more than £1m.

But now people are questioning its authenticity, and one person argues that the whole thing was a publicity stunt.

Josh Gilbert is an artist and blacksmith from Chicago, and he's cast doubt on the operation.

He talked about his theory in detail and argued there was something suspicious about the way in which the painting self destructed.

He told Bored Panda:

What piqued my interest was really the appearance of the device in his video. I'm a maker, so the way it was presented as being constructed struck a sour note with me. I re-watched it several times, and looked at stills, and it just didn't make sense as a machine designed to shred a painting. 

I'm also a magician, and when I started looking at it as a performance rather than a documentation, that's when it really clicked. 

He outlined his theory on Reddit, where he wrote: "I felt like this Banksy situation didn't add up in some ways no one was talking about and so I made a post about it. I watched this video a bunch of times and some parts of it really seem sketchy and nonsensical."

Gilbert claimed that the x-acto blades attached to the piece of wood on the painting, which presumably did the shredding, are mounted sideways.

"You can see that there is NO WAY these blades would cut canvas or even thick paper mounted that way," he says.

The mechanics of the stunt had Gilbert confused:

I'm pointing this out because it raises a bunch of questions for me. What is hidden in that huge box part at the bottom of the painting? Why would you use X-acto knives instead of a commercially available shredder? Why make something as well thought out as what is visible in the rest of the insides of the frame and then add a s****y row of blades facing the wrong way and connected to nothing? This REEKS of misdirection.

In fact, Gilbert believes the entire thing is a magician's trick...

It's not a shredder AT ALL. This is a CLASSIC magicians trick and an excellent way to drum up publicity without actually endangering the art. Not to mention, that it gives plausible deniability to everyone. They can honestly say 'We had no idea it was going to be destroyed!' because they knew it wasn't going to be...

What do you think - was it a publicity stunt?

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