Exit Through the Gift Shop is a fascinating documentary about filmmaker Thierry Guetta who in his failed attempt to make a documentary of Banksy became himself a street/pop artist and subject of this documentary film made by Banksy.
Thierry Guetta is a fascinating character who through his cousin became an unofficial documentarist of the street art world. It was all based on a lie though as he was never really making a documentary as all the footage just got stored away never to see the light of day until Banksy got his hands on it.
Having failed to make a coherent film out of his footage Guetta hands the task over to Banksy who casually suggests to him that he should try his hand at being an artist. Banksy later comes to regret having done so when he realises to what extreme Guetta has taken the comment as Guetta launches his career as Mr. Brainwash.
However I think that all is not as it seems and that the film has been produced by Banksy in order to quell the criticism that he has sold out. Once we get into the part of the film that chronicles Guetta’s insane art exhibition as Mr. Brainwash it becomes an attack on the art scene and the bogus nature of the people that buy into it.
There is literally no originality to any of Mr Brainwash’s work it is a mess of extremely derivative work that lacks a connecting theme other than it is derived from the work of artists that Guetta admires such as Warhol, Banksy and Shepard Fairey. He is however extremely successful as the show attracts huge crowds and he sells hundreds of thousands of dollars ‘worth’ of work.
Critics praise his work as being commentary on the work of other artists, but I believe that it isn’t and that the fact that it is entirely lacking in substance is deliberate. I think that both his name and his work are a joke/scam being pulled on the art world and are a fabrication created by Banksy. That they will buy any old shit if there is the smallest connection to the name of Banksy
However now the illusion has become reality in a world where anything can be called a work of art if it is produced by and called such by a person that a number of people believe to be an artist.