A finely conducted investigation of the very discreet hero of contemporary art, both elusive and omnipresent.
He is arguably the most famous contemporary artist in the world, yet no one knows what he looks like. An excellent documentary explores the mystery Banksy, this anonymous superhero, a sort of Batman of planetary street art, outlawed for almost twenty years. In 80 minutes of investigation around the world, London, New York or Gaza, the floor is given to those who know him best – agent, gallery owner, biographer or childhood friend -, to tell the story of the phenomenon, up to its most recent feats of arms: the rehabilitation of an old theme park in Disneyland parody, or the famous painting that self-destructed in October 2018 in front of the astounded public, just after its sale at Sotheby’s. We follow the crazy research undertaken by those who tried to unmask it, claiming among other things that it would be a collective of artists, the painter Damien Hirst, a garage owner in Bristol or a member of Massive Attack. If he suggests a few avenues, the film nevertheless avoids shocking revelations, the authors having had the intelligence to perceive the heresy that would constitute the revelation of his identity. On the contrary, it offers, as a guiding principle, a fine reflection on anonymity, the watchword and ethical principle of the graffiti artist. And the Banksy mystery, like all great puzzles, is all the more fascinating as it thickens.
“Banksy Wanted”, by Aurélia Rouvier and Seamus Haley, June 17, 9 p.m., Canal + and myCANAL.