Yi Zhou x Pharrell Williams

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Photo: Yi Zhou

Pharrell Williams is slowly making a name for himself in the art world. First as an avid collector and as a collaborator, having worked with Domeau & Pérès and now as muse for Chinese artist, Yi Zhou. Zhou’s exhibit I AM YOUR SIMULACRUM features a striking animated explosion of Williams’s face, cast as a 3D Grecian-style urn. The progression is the face breaking down into a cubist-like structure straight out of a Duchamp painting. More striking though is that Zhou has a reasonable explanation for the use of the mogul’s visage.


Zhou, a Chinese artist who works out of Paris and Shanghai, chose Pharrell simply for his status as a modern icon. Don’t believe us? Ask Interview and W Magazine. The way his face begins to disintegrate emphasizes the idea that though we elevate celebrities to the point of deity in our culture, we inevitably have to face their mortality (see: Michael Jackson, Farah Fawcett). Personally, we don’t know yet how we feel about celebrities in art. After all, so many are getting their 15 minutes of fame more than ever thanks to the fascination in reality TV. Thinking of Warhol; can anyone really contribute to the genre quite the same? But then again, if Salvador Dali were alive today, who’s to say Lady Gaga wouldn’t be getting the surrealist treatment. I AM YOUR SIMULACRUM at 20 Hoxton Square Projects (London) till September 11th.


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