FRANCESCO VEZZOLI at the Power Plant (231 Queens Quay West), to November 4. $5, stu/sts $3, free Wednesday 5-8 pm. 416-973-4949. Rating: NNN
Timed to coincide with celeb-fevered TIFF, the Francesco Vezzoli show promised to be a coup for the Power Plant.
After all, Vezzoli's Trailer For A Remake Of Gore Vidal's Caligula created a stir at several big-name biennials by perfectly mimicking Hollywood film trailer style, right down to its professional voice-over, high production values and celeb-heavy cast. Helen Mirren, Benicio Del Toro, Milla Jovovich and Courtney Love are just some of the mostly top-dollar faces doing pro bono.
At the Power Plant, the title work, Marlene Redux! A True Hollywood Story, is just as hilarious and breathtaking in its pop mimicry. Here, Vezzoli applies the E! True Hollywood format to a fake story of his own lurid Anna Nicole-style demise. The schmaltzy, absurd and (as the genre demands) repetitive quotes from supposed prostitutes, ersatz damage control experts and fictional critics are very funny.
But you have to know Vezzoli's shtick to appreciate Marlene Redux! and the abstract needlepoints and faux movie posters that make up most of the show's square footage.
This is where the show trips up on its own red carpet. Vezzoli might be an art celeb, but he still requires an introduction. The exhibition's lack of context on how celebrity, along with embroidery and philosophy, has evolved in his practice makes this show fall flat for many.
Vezzoli's filmography (Trailer included) screens at the Power Plant on three evenings - 6 pm tonight (Thursday, September 20), October 4 and 28.
Caligula II virgins are best off seeing one of these screenings first. If they don't, Marlene Redux! might come off more Wild Hogs than Easy Rider. And that would be a real tearjerker.