Artist/director Marco Brambilla and rapper/producer Kayne West recently released West’s video “Power,” a 1:15 minute clip that places the musician in the center of a moving painting.
Speakeasy chatted with Brambilla about his historical inspirations, working with West and what the video really means.
The Wall Street Journal: There are a lot of allusions and historical references in the “Power” video that you directed. Where did you draw our inspiration and what does it all mean?
Marco Brambilla: I think the visual inspiration for me was definitely the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel; they are kind of bombastic and iconic. Then the tonal reference was really “How do you visualize a symbol of power that’s almost timeless?” This video is almost like a portrait, a video portrait of Kanye as this symbol of power. 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.
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.