Kanye West has commissioned a video work by critically acclaimed artist, Marco Brambilla, to accompany the release of his new single “Power” from his upcoming album. The video piece will be released in early August 2010.
Power is a neo-classical video tableau, a single continuous camera move from an extreme close up of Mr. West gradually revealing an epic composition showing characters and creatures surrounding him in an abstract environment – all moving in extreme slow motion. Inspired by Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel, the piece depicts a faux historical moment – an empire on the brink of collapse from its own excess, decadence and corruption.
Brambilla explains, “my aim was to set the Sistine Chapel frescos in motion and populate it with characters symbolizing power in all its forms.” The mostly-nude icons (including models Diandra Forrest, Jessica White, and Irina Shayk) reference imagery from almost every historical era, surrounding Kanye in an orgy of decadence and destruction. Mr. West’s place at the center of the universe seems to be in a precarious state in Brambilla’s video work. “Nihilism is part of the message Kanye wanted to convey and a theme that is strongly present in his music and lyrics, so I made that feeling larger-than life using a familiar composition and borrowing heavily from the old masters.”
In making Power, Mr. Brambilla has evolved the video collage technique he created for his epic 2009 video installation, Civilization (commissioned by hotelier André Balazs for The Standard, New York). The imagery for Power was shot specifically for the piece and has been layered to create compelling new narratives and stunning visual mosaics. With exquisite technical production and seamless editing, Brambilla’s multi-layered tableaux of interconnecting images and looped video blend into an expansive landscape that forms his hallmark style.
In recent years, Kanye West has fostered the cross pollination between the worlds of art and music, working with greats such as Takashi Murakami on the artwork for his album, Graduation, and more recently, iconic American painter George Condo for the album cover artwork for his new CD. Marco Brambilla’s outstanding collaboration with Mr. West will further solidify the relationship between the two art forms.
Marco Brambilla is represented by the Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica, California. A major retrospective of Mr. Brambilla’s works, spanning his 30 year artistic career, will be on display at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in 2011.