Mr Brainwash @ The Old Sorting Office, Holborn

September 9, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

As I had some spare time yesterday while And was at the hairdressers, I finally got round to seeing the Mr Brainwash show which opened a few weeks ago here in London.

What can I say… I still can’t stop the niggling doubts that this is all a Banksy/ Sheppard Fairey production… knowingly tweeking the culturally (over) familiar and cynically adding an (obvious) splash of contemporary pop sensibility… in other words adding the same accessories (spray cans, tomato soup, monkeys, bright colours, anachronistic juxtapositions) onto a few different faces (The Queen, Banksy himself, Kate Moss….) but mostly it has to be said, to the same, tired old faces (The Beatles, Elvis, Hendrix, Einstein, monkeys…)

It had the feeling of a show of work that Messrs Banksy & Fairey don’t think is in their usual style, and so don’t want to directly associate themselves with in case they dilute their own brand…

And yet…

The work on show was actually better than I had expected. As I said, it was mostly derivative ideas, but it was generally well made and put together, with a few bits that stood out, mostly by virtue of scale: the vinyl record portraits, the giant car tyre gorilla, the steel plate Mickey Mouse and the paint can Olympics logo being some of them…

The star of the show however had to be the building itself… a wonderfully rickety old space that I’m pretty sure has been used for “underground” club nights and PR happenings over the last few years, and which is full of old bits of kit and disparate finishes that in themselves would offer an enjoyable experience without all Mr Brainwash’s ephemera cluttering up the place. I hope this is the first of many events that will be held there and open to the public.

So on the whole, I’m glad I went. “Follow your dreams” Mr Brainwash tells us… and as a motto, it’s not a bad one, I’m just not sure whose dream he’s following and consequently whose I’m looking at…

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