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Portrait of Power | Kanye West Moving Fresco Music Video

August 7, 2010

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After a brief hiatus from the music scene, rapper Kanye West returns with a groundbreaking music video for his single “Power.” Kanye teamed up with artist Marco Brambilla for an art inspired music video unlike any other previous produced. Brambilla placed West in the center of a moving fresco similar to those depicted in the Sistine Chapel.

The music video is beautiful and thought provoking with many of the characters alluding to the timeless theme of “Power.”

Wall Street Journal interviewed Brambilla about the concept of the video and how it came to be.

“The video is actually one continuous shot – it comes out from a close up of Kanye and gradually reveals this decadence and sexuality around him. Once we come to the wide shot, we challenge that position of power,” said Brambilla.

One can’t help but wonder if this video symbolizes Kanye’s pop culture influence and the degree to which it has wained over the past year with the Taylor Swift fiasco.  West became public enemy number one after sabotaging Swift’s MTV awards acceptance speech saying singer Beyonce had the best single of the year.

West took himself out of the public eye but surfaced recently via Twitter with a series of tweets that have garnered the attention of his fans and the media.  New York Times even went as far as creating cartoons for each of Kanye’s best tweets.

“The narrative within it is a moment of transition. It’s almost like the precarious nature of power, the epic portrait of power. In one sense it’s both the rise and fall of a celebrity in a way and that’s one of the things that interested me about working with Kanye. I wanted to use some of his baggage in terms of the year he’s had coming into this and releasing his first single in a long time. I wanted to use the kind of public perception of him and have fun with that and the concept of him being a celebrity and what he’s gone through recently,” said Brambilla.

This isn’t the first time Kanye has collaborated with an artist on a music video.  He has worked with Takashi Murakami on his Graduation album cover and music videos.  Kanye is creative and illustrates words visually through his videos.  Brambilla told the Wall Street Journal that West was attracted to his piece “Civilization,” which he did for The Standard Hotel.  West saw the piece in the hotel’s elevator  and loved it so much that he posted it on his blog shortly after.  The rapper then requested a meeting with Brambilla for a something similar to “Civilization” using the video collage technique Brambilla developed for the piece.

Model Irina Shayk (and girlfriend of soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo) also stars in the video.  When asked what the he thinks the public perception of the 1:42 minutes music video will be, Brambilla said,

“I think it shows the end of an era and maybe the end of an era of celebrity. Maybe end of era for figure of power, maybe it’s a moment of transition for society in general. It has all these kind of ambiguous messages, but it’s something that you can visually experience. It has so much imagery within it hopefully people will react to it on a purely visceral level. But also what I would hope is that they see the kind of subversive qualities of it where it poses these questions about power, celebrity, sexuality decadence that kind of thing.”



Kanye West “Power” Music Video

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