Street art is an art form that has grown quite a lot the last couple of years. The art itself is usually very temporary as it’s seen as graffiti by city officials and subsequently removed. It’s something the artists themselves are very aware of and they generally do not mind. Thierry Guetta is not a street artist, but he does film everything (he always has his camera in his hand and is filming). He joins his cousin, who is street artist Space Invader regularly. Space Invader is well-known for sticking tiles with the space invader game characters on them to walls all around the world. Guetta is very interested in this form of art and asks other artists if he’s allowed to tag along and film them. They usually agree and Guetta gets to know a lot of artists. He learns more about the art, but there is one artists he isn’t able to track down and get in contact with. That artist is Banksy.
Banksy is one of the most famous street artists as he has managed to keep his identity hidden while making provocative statements through his art. He even went to Palestine to put some of his art on the wall that Israel has put up to make a statement.
Through a lot of luck Thierry manages to get in contact with Banksy and follow him. You think the movie will then focus on Banksy, but it doesn’t take long before you realise that this movie isn’t about Banksy, but about Thierry. He’s such and eccentric man who seems to get obsessed by things to the point that it will seem to be his only focus while he’s willing to lose everything to realise his goals. By the end of the movie you really start to wonder if the guy isn’t completely crazy. There’s a piece of the movie where he’s pricing some art work which is almost surrealistic.
There has been quite a lot of discussion about this documentary focussing on the question whether or not it is real. Some say that Banksy wants to make a statement against the art world, where collectors are willing to spend thousands of dollars on his works, showing them that if someone is popular isn’t doesn’t have to mean that his art work is good.
Despite the question if this is really a documentary (I think it is), Exit Through the Gift Shop is fun to watch and will give you an interesting look into the world of street art and Guetta. It’s entertaining and will surprise you. A documentary which you should see.