For anyone that has seen Banksy’s Oscar nominated documentary 'Exit Through the Gift Shop', the figure of ‘Mr Brainwash’ (real name Thierry Guetta) will be a familiar one.
From amateur film-maker to superstar street artist in 87 minutes. It’s a Cinderella story of how a French man met his idol, Banksy, who luckily enough allowed him to ‘document’ his artistic escapades in LA. Guetta then becomes a street artist in his own right, with the audience left to decipher the level of merit in his creations.
The film has caused much speculation in regard to its authenticity due to Banksy’s normally secretive nature. The playfulness that epitomizes his work would also lead us to believe that Guetta is perhaps just a manifestation of Banksy playing a very elaborate trick on the art world; either way, I’d urge you to see the film to make up your own mind as it’s a good watch.
2 years on and away from the film, London plays host to Mr Brainwash in his first solo UK exhibition. Housed in a suitably run down space, the Old Sorting Office on New Oxford Street, the exhibition comprises an assorted array of work from sculpture, to portraits, to a giant gorilla made of bits of tire. With empty phrases such as "Life is Beautiful" and "May The Art Be With You" appearing in various capacities you’re hard pressed to find anything conceptually substantial in the work. Mr Brainwash uses scale and bold splashes of colour to excite the eyes but there’s no real depth to any of the work, nor is there originality; Banksy, Warhol, and Hirst are all lovingly and shamelessly replicated.
What you do have though is just a bunch of quite cool looking stuff. The giant Polaroid camera was cool. The giant toy cab was cool. The horses splattered with paint were cool… anyway you get my drift.
So if you fancy seeing some over-sized cool looking stuff then you’ll have to head to the Harry Potter Tour at Warner Brothers Studio because the MrBrainwash exhibition is finished already.