Entries tagged with “art documentary”.

While the Bansky exhibition curated by Steve Lazarides is still open in the city, the local cinematheque screened  the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop which has the name of the artist as director in its credits. is a mystery as artist and person, and Exit Through the Gift Shop does not aim and will not disperse the secret of his identity. It adds however more light on the origins of the street art genre and develops the documentary genre towards a direction that is both unexpected and rewarding for the viewers, whatever their opinions on this phenomenon may be.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1587707/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1587707/


The basic rule of street art is that there are no rules. This film tries to follow this. The principal character starts as a video camera addict (and there is a good reason for his addiction) named Thierry Guetta who at some point discovers street art and starts filming the fringe individuals who make street art during their night escapades. He gets to know some of the most famous ones, including the secretive Bristol-based . At some point he becomes more and more involved with his subjects, he abandons his bourgeois commercial profession, and street art becomes a way of life. Crossing the border between documenting street art and becoming a street artist comes next, and by the end of the film we see Thierry Guetta having become Mr. Brainwash, a successful artist cashing well on his products, while Bansky has become the maker of the film about him.


(video source ENTRTNMNT)


The very surprising turnaround makes out of the film a strange hybrid, a documentary where the lines between authors and subjects are blown up, with characters that claim to be real but defy common logic and would risk to be considered ‘non-credible’ in a fiction film. There is also a rather deep subtext and question marks about art and its value, about where street art belongs, about fighting commercial art and becoming successful and rich by selling counter-art. It’s difficult to put it in a box, but this is the case with street art in general. More than anything however, I found this film fun to watch.


I knew nothing about Stefan and Franciszka Themerson before seeing the documentary directed by Wiktoria Szymanska on ARTE TV. The film starts by filming the couple of artists – he was a writer, a composer and a film maker, she was a painter and illustrator at their old age, settled in Britain. It was the end of a long road that took them from their native Poland where they began as avant-garde artists in the 1920s, to Paris, the capital of arts in the 30s. When war broke Franciszka flew to England, Stefan stayed for a while in occupied France (that was the only time when they were separated after they had met), then joined her. They made films with the Polish propaganda studios during the war, and then stayed in England for the coming decades.


source http://deckert-distribution.com/film-catalogue/art-music-culture/themerson-themerson/


In the dull after-war British landscape they created colorful and merry art, were in the center of the artistic and intellectual life and opened an editing house Gaberbocchus Press. Here they translated and made known to the English readers some of the earlier decades French experimental writers and poets like Alfred Jarry and Guillaume Apollinaire. In the 60s Franciszka worked stage sets for theater in Sweden, and then the two moved for a few years in the Netherlands. They spent their final years in England, and died a few months apart one of the other.


source http://strawdogs.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/franciszka-themerson/franciszka-themerson-4/


Here is one of drawings created by Franciszka typical to the style she used in the many book illustrations that she created.


(video source richubertson)


The first minutes of the documentary filmed presented by ARTE can be seen here. The film traces the lives of the two artists, their multiple directions and means of expression, their careers with ups and downs but first of all it is a love story of two charming people who seem to have radiated goodness and joie de vivre – the joy of living and creating to all who met them and now remember them dearly.


(video source BolVVVerk)


Calling Mr. Smith (you can see it above) is the first of the two films made by the Themersons in England during the war. It tells about the atrocities committed by the Nazis in occupied Poland.



(video source sellarco)

Here is Oko I Ucho (The Eye and The Year), the second film made during the war at the Polish Studios in London in 1944/45, an example of experimental animation inspired by four songs by the Polish composer Karol Szymanowsky.




Franciszka’s style change towards the end of her life, she painted om larger canvases on almost abstract representations in a more dramatic mood. Here is ‘And so it goes’ - painting from 1977.

Seeing this documentary made me think that some of the avant-garde artists of the 20th century resemble the Renaissance artists in their multiple means of expression, their holistic view of the world, their thirst of exploring, discovering imagining. The Themerson Archives Web site allow all of you to learn more about these two wonderful artists and people – http://www.themersonarchive.com/index.htm