The Greatness is Yi Zhou’s 3-D animation video created in 2010, another step in her continuing research on the boundaries between dreams and reality, imagination and madness, truth and lies, and life after death.
Ms. Zhou is inspired once again by Dante’s the Divine Comedy. Her imaginary journey through the circles of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise appropriates specific images, scenes, and characters from her earlier work : Pharrell Williams and the bridge from the video The Ear (2008); The fountain frozen in an other-worldly realm of ice from the video Paradise (2007) and the image of the beating heart from My Heart Laid Bare (2006) and places them in a new and extraordinary environments. These juxtapositions and re-imaginations transform the artist’s original reference and meaning into something completely new and different in The Greatness, and these new realities are given a sharp and almost tactile immediacy by the artist’s adroit manipulation of 3-D technology.
Music is a central character in The Greatness. The video begins with the notes of a mysterious waltz-like rhythm, and the soundtrack itself directs attention to the special collaboration between the artist and the Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone. This is the second collaboration between Morricone and Ms. Zhou. Morricone’s exploration of the emotional vibrations of sound under a various states of fear, pleasure, exaltation and mystery, and his use in this piece of segments of previously unpublished melodies and sounds from his personal archives, are both an extension of his professional pro-occupation with “object and subject fusion” and a perfect complement to Ms. Zhou multilayered visual style in her films and animations. The haunting melodies are reminiscent of the soundtracks Morricone composed for Dario Argento’s first trilogy of movies.