(how my head felt after seeing Banksy's brilliant Exit Through the Gift Shop)
Maria and I, on a hungover Sunday afternoon trundled through darkened graffited tunnels underneath Waterloo station to find a bricked up vault to see Banksy's Exit through the Gift Shop. I'll be honest with you, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I had heard the film had had a warm reception at Sundance, but let's be honest, Banksy can rarely do wrong in people's perceptions at the moment (well, maybe not the local councils) and I was a bit concerned I'd have to sit through an hour or so of Nathan Barley visuals steeped in style over substance. Anyway as someone who's always been interested in art (street art of course included) the idea of sitting in a specially set up space to watch the film immediately appealed to me, and I do like Banksy's work so...
In case you haven't seen the trailer - here it is...
I don't think the trailer does it justice to be honest. I was so impressed after seeing this film I could hardly begin to extract words from my own scramble of thoughts. In simple terms (its all I can muster) I thought it was an interesting exploration into art as owned object, art-world as consumerist market place. Work originally intended for everyone and the urban environment is now turned into currency, which this film exposes and explores. I wanted to laugh and cry when we heard one renowned US art buyer speak, whose first piece (which she alledgedly fell in love with) an original Warhol, was, when asked where it was, left at the back of her closet somewhere. Oh my word. People are idiots.
You've got to watch it. The film is like a documentary translation of one of Banksy's own stencils or Shepard Fairey's layers of poster glue and screen prints. Layer upon layer of different documentaries are placed on top of each other. All these layers: the handheld footage shot by Guetta, filming pioneers of a particular period of street art, then Banksy's footage observing street art's (or art's) descent into the world of consumerism, all mixed up within a biographical documentary on a french 'film maker' Thierry Guetta, are all laid upon the foundation of it being a documentary about Banksy and his work. The fact that its not hard to follow (like the above sentence!) or a complete mess of a film is a truly astounding feat.
I'm still not sure as to whether Thierry Guetta aka Mr Brainwash is a very clever man, a Warholian dream (a natural postmodern progression from Duchamp's ready made) or an idiotic opportunist. My conclusion is probably all of the above.
Anyway here's some snaps I took in there.