Leading video artist Marco Brambilla taps tribalism and neo-classical influences to paint an extraordinary visual tableau for Kanye West’s new release, Power.
Taken from Kanye’s forthcoming release Good Ass Job , Power is a contemporary musical morality play reflecting on the problems and paradoxes of modern life – where excess, egotism and celebrity coexist alongside poverty, dubious politics and power.
Responding to the drive of Kanye’s track, Marco Brambilla has visualised a moment of cataclysmic collapse with a moving video collage inspired by neo-classical art and his previous installation piece, Civilisation.
“Kanye got in touch via my gallery having seen my moving video collage Civilisation installed in the elevators of the Standard Hotel in New York. That piece drew on the themes of Dante’s Inferno and uses scenes for mainstream Hollywood films to chart the rise to heaven, or fall to hell, depending on whether you’re travelling up or down in the elevator.”
Using Civilisation as a conceptual starting point, Brambilla began to consider how to evolve the technique to create an original video artwork for the track Power.
“Emotionally, the song struck me as being a combination of this epic and imposing sound with a very urgent message while at the same time there’s a sense of contradiction that comes from the human voice behind the music. There’s a tension between the decadence and excess but at the same time you can feel an undertone of doubt and fragility.”
Brambilla’s response is a stunning Sistine Chapel style video collage that depicts Kanye as musical icon, evoking Napoleonic portraiture and superimposing a moment of transition on top. The video also pays homage to Salvador Dali’s famous collaboration with photographer Philippe Halsman to inject the piece with an impending tone of inevitable cataclysm and slow burning catastrophe.
Power is the first video to be released as part of Brambilla’s wider commission to create an album-length film for Good Ass Job. The film will use Kanye’s music as the narrative driving force behind a highly stylized operatic odyssey.