Even if the whims of each individual’s existence can rarely be transformed into extraordinary scripts, the destiny of an artist is almost always an intense and exciting tale of identity and self-acceptance. Concentrated and dynamic, ‘DETOUR‘ is a short documentary exploring a tattoo artist’s journey through a series of narrative episodes orchestrated by the protagonist that sums up the defining moments of her becoming. Though the narrative stake of this rather temperate and apparently unspectacular epic experiment for the likes of certain audiences may not meet the exigences of the (micro)biographies amateurs, Nicolai Brix’s short film is a homogenous and touching product proposing an objective incursion into the inner labyrinth of an artist who had to fight against family and social prejudices in order to discover her true purpose. Designed like a reportage-confession that functions like a narrative pivot, supporting the visual gear that captures the precise gestures of the artist taking shelter in her own universe populated with sketches, naive fantasies or ample gothic tattoos, this succinct and intense documentary is both an invitation addressed to the passionates about this new form of art often considered to be subversive, and a lesson of life about the inner power of people for whom devotion to their own art has become a modus vivendi.
Without claiming to be an exhaustive documentary that follows an artist’s complete existential journey, Nicolai Brix’s project focuses on the work of the Danish artist Thit Hansgaard, approaching both a parallel journey through her past and her creation lab, as well as a human and optimistic visual experience about the power of art to shape our own choices. From memories focused on the moments of solitude in which a young girl tries through her novice sketches to encompasses her entire inner universe to the dreams of an adult who wanted to fully dedicate her life to tattoos, Thit Hansgaard’s story depicted through Nicolai Brix’s eyes manages to provide spectators a balanced product about the power of personal choices without adopting the pretty facile principles of a motivational experiment.
The ingenious visual parallels through which the director approaches both a gentle perspective on the Danish artist’s evolutionary path that succinctly sums up the defining moments of her existence through real-time sketches and a brief foray in the protagonist’s tattoo workshop makes ‘DETOUR’ a pleasant and temperate project about courage and passion, but also about the sometimes-absurd prejudices or exigencies of a society that often limit the artists’ freedom of expression.