From La Biennale di Venezia to MACRO.

International Perspectives #3

curated by Paolo De Grandis and Claudio Crescentini



Fragments of Rome, past, future, parallel worlds




Press Preview: 20 October 11.00

Inauguration: 20 October 2016 18.00

Open to the public: 21 October - 27 November 2016

MACRO - Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome

MACRO Hall, Via Nizza 138

press release

Third stage for the exhibition project From La Biennale di Venezia to MACRO. International Perspectives, conceived and curated by Paolo De Grandis and Claudio Crescentini, dedicated to the presentation in the MACRO areas of some international installations from the International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, in recomposed and remodelled site-specific versions especially for the MACRO.

Promoted by Rome Capital, Department for Cultural Growth - Capitoline Superintendency for the Cultural Heritage, and organised in collaboration with PDG Arte Communications, the project sees the convergence of art “perspectives” of two cities that work to enable international art experience to travel over the national territory. From the lagoon city to the Capital. Two cities linked by an impressive historic and artistic tradition that have succeeded in further enriching this experience to give a voice and life to contemporary art, to bring this resource to the forefront, making use of actions to document what exists, with promotions of events and international connections. Research launched by Paolo De Grandis in 1995 with the concept of external pavilions at the Venice Biennale and the presentation of new countries.

This third appointment will present the exhibition Fragments of Rome, past, future, parallel worlds by Yi Zhou, a Chinese artist who lives between Rome, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, who represents the new generation of talented interdisciplinary artists. Yi Zhou creates great multimedia installations in which she combines cinema, digital animation, photography, sculpture, painting, drawing and contemporary music compositions with prestigious collaborations such as that of the Maestro Ennio Morricone on the occasion of her participation in the Biennale in 2011.

Her work explores the kingdom of hyperrealism and neorealism: on one hand, she draws visual and tangible forms from her imagination and from dreams; on the other she gives nature a surreal appearance. Her works, a complex synthesis of fantasy, literature, mythology, philosophy and new technology, imbued with Chinese and Mediterranean culture, introduce the perturbing magic of virtual and supernatural characters and landscapes, set amidst the ephemeral reality of life, love and death, using the symbolic language of the unconscious. She blends old means of expression, like marble sculpture and 35 mm film, with extremely advanced techniques, such as 3D animation. Her films explore the limit between dream and reality, imagination and madness, truth and falsehood, life after death.

In the MACRO Hall Yi Zhou will present a multimedia installation with 3D animation, literary echoes and references to the history of Rome and its ruins. The videos will be projected on marble slabs, recreating an interactive environment.

The show begins with the new virtual reality video made in collaboration with Sundance New Frontier in which Yi Zhou reinterprets Rome and its history, and the world preview of New Shorelines, produced in China but with European settings and traces of European tradition. The work presents a world in transformation where all the arts converge in one to follow the principle in which the margins of the arts blend together. Poised between shade and light, Yi Zhou seeks inspiration from Tim Burton and from Walt Disney characters to graft visions taken from submerged worlds and new glacial eras. A fantastic journey freely interpreted by numerous associations of images, accompanied by the thrilling notes of Bryan Ferry who composed the music.

The exhibition will also include My Heart Laid Bare, a video with the participation of Charlotte Gainsbourg, where Yi Zhou reinterprets Boccaccio's Decameron and in particular the tale of Nastagio degli Onesti. Shot on the outskirts of Rome between the port of Fiumicino and Ostia, the video tells of the end of a love affair through the highly personal, surreal vision of the artist in which the everyday dialogues with dreamlike visions marked by the constant symbol of the heart and the primordial spring of water.

Next comes The Ear with the protagonist Pharell Williams and the music of the maestro Ennio Morricone. Here, inspired by the short story by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol entitled The Nose, from the Petersburg Tales, Yi Zhou has written her own absurd short story about the loss of an ear. The ear becomes the key element of the film, shot in RED and partly in 3D animation. Throughout the work, the ear and the inner ear are transformed together into an Ear Bridge, as they are gradually crossed by a bridge.

The Greatness with a masterly contribution by Ennio Morricone is an important expressive stage for Yi Zhou. Drawing inspiration once again from the Divine Comedy the artist tells of her imaginary journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise choosing specific and appropriate images, scenes and characters from her previous works. In The Greatness the music is of fundamental importance. The video begins with the notes of a mysterious waltz and the sound track draws attention to the specific affinity between the artist and the composer, the Oscar-winner Ennio Morricone, in this their second collaboration. Morricone's exploration of emotional sound vibrations in various states of fear, pleasure, exaltation and mystery, like his use in this work of segments of melodies and unpublished sounds from his personal archive, are both an extension of his active professional concern for the "fusion of objects and subjects", the perfect complement to the multilayered visual style that Yi Zhou adopts in her films and animations. The haunting melodies are reminiscent of sound tracks that Morricone composed for the first trilogy of films by Dario Argento. The Greatness was produced by the Contrasts Gallery in partnership with MK2 and Yi Zhou. The sound track was recorded in Morricone's studio in Rome in early 2010.

Yi Zhou's world is populated with nocturnal visions filtered through literary reminiscences, reinvented, overturned or recovered references, which are repeated insistently, shunning easy didactic examples to open up to cultural contaminations and experiments with language. In her 3D animations, peopled with apocalyptic visions but always leaving a glimmer of light, the altered images, stripped of their meaning, give life to a nostalgic haiku that wipes out all trace of anything that makes sense, opening up the story to an abstract dimension, diluted in a spiral movement.

As Achille Bonito Oliva said at the time of the exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2011:

«Art is a hope for happiness, said Baudelaire. The total art of Yi Zhou is the demonstration of the Chinese artist's desire to represent the depth and the surface of things, the appearances of the world and the deep impulses that permeate the human soul. Her work is the fruit of a multimedia language, the synthesis of cinema, digital animation, sculpture, painting, drawing and contemporary music. In this way, even through the video, the work becomes the ability to represent time in space, to capture the fleeting moments of life in a fragmentary vision that succeeds in catching the present without forgetting the past, in a dialogue between different cultures, East and West."


Press Office Zètema Progetto Cultura

Patrizia Morici / T. +39 06 82 07 73 71 / M. +39 348 54 86 548 /

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via Nizza 138, Rome

Opening times: from Tuesday to Sunday, 10.30-19.30 (the ticket office closes an hour earlier)

Closed on Monday

Free admission to the exhibition Fragments of Rome, past, future, parallel worlds by Yi Zhou

Ticket MACRO via Nizza

Full rate: non-residents 11,00 €, residents 10,00 €.

Reduced rate: non-residents 9.00 €, residents 8.00 €.

Combined ticket MACRO via Nizza + MACRO Testaccio

Full rate: non-residents 13.50 €, residents 12.50 €

Reduced rate: non-residents 12.50 €, residents 11.50 €

Information on eligibility for reductions:

INFO: 060608

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