Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Exit Through the Gift Shop - Movie Review

“Holy shit!! We just forged a million quid”

The Banksy I was acquainted with in this movie might not even be Banksy, an elusive, allegedly Bristolian street artist who has graduated said art to a level above and beyond its ruffian, deviant beginnings. His subversion is meditative, inquisitive, complex and beautiful. He is truly an artist, not just a street marking wall pisser who knows how to blow up an image at Kinko’s or how to use Photoshop Pro: @Sheppard Fairey.

But the movie isn’t about Banksy entirely, it’s by Banksy. It might even be an over everyone’s head work of art, meaning its subject, Thierry Guetta, might himself be a Banksy creation and a commentary on the Art World and its De Rigueur pretense. It could be a mind fuck- I give Banksy the benefit of doubt on the side of cunning.

It’s a movie about obsessions that snowball and transform, but it also has “Banksy” in it, making clever observations and displaying a knack for comedic timing and dry wit that suggests a level of intelligence of a higher plane.

Thierry, we are told, is a Frenchman who lives and once owned a Vintage store in L.A, a cunning businessman who began video recording everything at a very early age. Without a doubt Thierry’s obsessive nonstop recording of everything- getting out of the shower, brushing his teeth, eating dinner- is in the autistic spectrum. Then his obsession, serendipitously finds a channel, an exclusive source of focus: street art. Through his kinship with Space Invader, a French street artist cousin, Thierry begins to document the perilous and obscure subculture. He becomes the sole documenter of this world and vows to make a documentary of it all. Through persistence and indefatigability he earns street cred and is brought into contact, knighted even, with and by King Bansky. This is the prettiest part of the movie, we are shown the world of Banksy, how it’s done, who it is done with, we see his workshop, his team of loyal aids, we are even introduced to his former spokesperson. This level of intimacy with a pixilated warped voice Banksy is as close as we will ever get to him, and that’s fine. But then it stops, the movie refocuses on Thierry, who is by now himself a street artist: Mister Brainwash.

Another obsession on its exponential freefall.

Thierry takes being an artist as a business and invests all his money into a studio and a team of assistants, who make the work for him, he cuts, pastes, and steals from every artist he has come into contact with and makes millions doing so. He swallowed, digested and defecated an entire subculture, raped it, pillaged it and...what of it?
If the adage “Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal” is true, then Thierry is the truest artist alive today. Maybe it’s all been commissioned by Banksy, some people even think Banksy is a member of the British Secret Service, I wouldn’t put anything past him, because I can’t grasp Banksy, he’s out of my league.



Anonymous said...

Congratulations Pomp, this is the best-written blog I've read here so far. I've been curious about the Banksy movie, and this makes me want to see it so much more.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, this was a job well done. I saw the movie and Thierry seemed like a complete Banksy construct to me. said...

I fully match with whatever thing you have presented us.