Thursday, December 2, 2010

Exit Through The Gift Shop

Here's a movie I recommend watching, especially if you're attending Art Basel this weekend here in Miami. 'Exit Through The Gift Shop' is a documentary type film released this year that was supposed to be about street art legend Banksy, but in turn the film is really about frenchman Thierry Guetta and his obsession with street art and how he became a legend in the art world. It opens with Thierry commenting on how he became addicted to documenting every bit of his life on film. He filmed everything at every moment of his life, accumulating hundreds of thousands of hours of tape which he soon lost track of. One day, he goes back home to France and meets his cousin, famous street artist Invader, and Thierry becomes obsessed with filming him on the street, in action, doing his thing. Shortly after, his cousin introduces him to other street artists to document such as Shepard Fairey, Swoon and eventually the ever so evasive, Banksy. Soon, Thierry wants more from the art world he is obsessed with and begins his own bombing campaigns, labeling himself as "Mr. Brainwash" and leading to enormous, successful exhibitions all over the world. It's quite a funny story actually. It also features Neckface, Kaws, Borf and a few other notables.

What makes this film so interesting is the way everything is presented to you by british narrator Rhys Ifans, it almost seems like it's all a hoax. There actually has been much speculation that the film and story of Mr. Brainwash are a hoax concocted by Banksy himself. Among the most questionable aspects of his character in the film is the absence of any footage of Thierry actually creating his uncannily Banksy-like images. When he is shown "working," he is only seen splattering paint using aerosol cans to haphazardly color images and clumsily attempting to paste up a poster, which was hilarious! Other aspects of the Mr. Brainwash character seem deliberately comical, such as him being pushed in a wheelbarrow after supposedly breaking his foot, but I'll leave it up to you to be the judge. View the extended trailer below. A must see!