Monday, 20 December 2010

Exit through the gift shop

Exit through the gift shop promo

Ok, this could, I repeat COULD, be the best art based film/documentary I have seen, or it could, yes COULD, be the worse, ill let you decide. (spoilers present)


The doc follows Thierry Guetta, at first, a filmmaker, who follows street artists Shepard Farey and Space Invader around the world whilst they riskily produce their art. The strange thing about Guetta is yes, he loves street art and recording it, but he is not actually a film maker at all, he simply records hours and days and months of footage and never watches the tapes back, does not edit or cut anything. He simply puts the tapes into storage to be never looked at again. This is not told to any of the street artists, they are “apparently” expecting an epic documentary about street art.

Banksy interview

Shepard Farey and his famous Obama Print

The plot thickens when Guetta finally gets to record Bansky, who he has long admired, in a some what of a suspicious lucky domino effect situation. The film progresses and Guetta and Bansky forge a friendship, but when Bansky requests a copy of the film Guetta has to finally get his act together and produce something from his hours and hours of footage that he never intended to do.

Guetta produces something Bansky described as “shit” and Bansky states it became clear that Guetta never was a film maker and he says in a rather blasé fashion, to leave the film and go and produce some street art of his own. To cut a long story short, Guetta goes mad and obsessive and produces an inane amount of Banksy/Space Invader, clumsy style rip offs and uses Banksy friendship to help promote it and re mortages his house and sells everything he owns to finance a huge show in L.A. Due to the hype and the manipulation of the press the public go crazy for the show, Guetta who has now changed his name to Mr Brainwash, yes Mr Brainwash, tricks everyone to think he is a genius and sells over a million pounds of his work and thus gains instant fame as an artist overnight. The film then goes to show the street artists ( Banksy, Space Invader and Shepard Farey) to be bitter about Guetta’s success and stating he has ripped them off and tricked everyone, making a mockery of a serious art form.

Guetta pretending to work

The really interesting part

BUT!!!! This is the interesting view on the film. It’s a Hoax created by Banksy! Backing up that post modern theory, that everyone will or can be famous for 15 minutes that his own pop art influences preached. It is hugely ironic that the work Guetta reproduces is pop art classics that states this very message. Mr Brainwash/Guetta is a Bansky creation, to spell out the joke the art world is. Its all about hype rather than talent and concept. Some clues include:

1)    you never see Guetta create anything himself, he has never done so before in his life either.
2)    The huge sales reported by Guetta in the film are not backed up on Artnet, however after the film was shown, his sales are now huge.
3)     The doc also makes it clear Banksy is well known for counterfeits, as in a somewhat out of context section which, shows his fake £10 notes with Princess Dianna’s head on, instead of the queens on them.
4)    The constant Warhol references
5)    The name for the character, Mr Brainwash
6)    The film is co produced by Banksy and Fairey

LA Weekly catching on and promoting the show

In my opinion, if the film is a Hoax, it is an amazing piece of film that has served its purpose extremely well and has really placed Banksy at the next level and in my opinion that’s exactly what it is. I believe it has been created by Fairy and Banksy to criticise the commercialisation of street art but quite ironically in a fashion that has made it more commercial.

Madonna greatest hits cover by Guetta aka Mr Brainwash

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