Some of you might remember the short film ‘The Ear‘ from last year, produced by Yi Zhou and featuring artist Pharrell Williams. For her latest project she once again included Pharrell into the concept, this time in the form of a vase. “Yi Zhou’s latest 3D animation The Greatness, based on layers of video game programs and advanced 3D programming research, will debut from Thursday at 20 Hoxton Square Projects in collaboration with Testori UK, as part of her first solo show in London. Curated by Rachael Barratt and Adam Waymouth, and entitled I AM YOUR SIMULACRUM, the exhibition will feature Yi Zhou’s work from 2006 to present. The Greatness begins with a surreal, striking and unexpected explosion of the Pharrell Williams vase.
As it disintegrates, Wiliams’ face breaks into a cubist inspired composition. Its disappearing leads the spectator to a journey through a frightening labyrinth underworld. As with most film noir/fiction, the lead often has to exit the scene through death. Zhou says: “The actual vase was made from a 3D scan of Pharrell’s body, then I modelled it in 3D to turn it into a Greek urn-style vase resembling a surreal mask. I like to take virtual characters out of my movies and turn them into tangible sculptural pieces. Pharrell is a modern icon, so by imagining his face breaking up, it emphasizes the emotional side to how he’s regarded as an icon, and the idea of mortality that we all have to face, which puts us all on a level-footing as human beings.” Continuing her exploration of film with sculpture, based on a clay model made in her Shanghai studio, this vase represents a transition from a simulacrum into the real world.”
The Greatness was produced by Contrasts Gallery in partnership with MK2 . The soundtrack was recorded at Morricone’s studio in Rome in early 2010. Both The Greatness and The Ear will feature as part of OPEN 13 at the International Exhibition of Sculpture and installations in Venice, taking place 1 September – 3 October 2010. The Acheronte traveller, a sculpture that also features in The Greatness, will form the centrepiece to her installation there. 20 Hoxton Square Projects will be showing an outdoor screening within Hoxton Square of Yi Zhou’s film ‘My Heart Laid Bare’ (2008), starring award-winning French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. A 6m screen has been specially constructed by designer and architect Tom Finch and wireless headphones will be provided to ensure a fully interactive experience, taking place Thursday 2 and Friday 3 September 2010.