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Federico Solmi’s art on society’s contradictions, injustices

Power and politics throughout history

“The Great Farce”, premiered at B3 Biennale in Frankfurt as a 360 ft. public space projection, bringing high visibility to Solmi’s satirical point of view on power and politics throughout history and the contemporary world.

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past” – William Faulkner

Federico Solmi is inspired by journalist Oriana Fallaci’s book, “Interviews with History and Conversations with Power”, where she wrote: “There’s something missing in all writings about power: Very few are able to capture how funny it is. When they examine the horrors that power commits, the sufferings it imposes, the blood with which it stains itself, historians and political scientists always forget to highlight the ridiculous aspects of the inevitable monster and how funny they are, with their ironed uniforms, unearned medals and invented awards.”

“Art, for me, has always been a platform to examine social phenomena and call attention to contradictions and injustices.”… Federico Solmi


Reality has become an eternal amusement theme park in Federico Solmi’s multi-channel projection for the 2017 Frankfurt B3 Biennale Of Moving Images. It has become a place where the world’s leaders can rewrite, fabricate, or travel to any event of the past, present, or future. They entertain, distract, and misdirect the world’s population through spectacle. Epic battles, great adventures, and lavish ceremonies are staged as re-enactments of historic events. Hysterical visitors rush between the carousels, Ferris wheels, and food stands to watch. Behind the delighted crowd, advertisement billboards and park attractions light up, forming a psychedelic skyline. Through the leaders’ mania, carnival rides transform into historic monuments, to be toppled like Don Quixote’s windmill giants. The carousel horses become a charging cavalry, rocking ships turn into an armada, and Ferris wheels spin like helicopters.

The leaders grow to be idolized celebrities, reward ceremonies display giant portraits of the leaders on jumbotron screens as they receive heaps of military trophies and medals. The marching rulers parade between the rides, accompanied by missiles, tanks, and helicopters. They arrive at the White House, furnished as a Roman villa, where the American Presidents host an emperor’s ball.

As the fantastical re-enactments of history become more irrational and surreal, the leaders gain a feverish madness for power. News sources from the present are instantaneously altered into modern day myths. The resulting chaos dissolves any distinction between truth and myth, immortalizing the leaders, and elevating them as Gods to a faux Mount Olympus. From its heavenly terrace, they look out to admire their counterfeit universe.

Projected on nine screens across the facade of the Schauspiel Frankfurt, the videos are the result of Solmi’s elaborate process that combines traditional drawing and painting with gaming and digital technology. 3-D models of characters and environments are built and texture mapped with scans of hand-painted imagery. A virtual world is created within a game engine, where each scene is staged as a movie set. The characters act as puppets, animated through motion capture and computer scripts rather than strings. Scenes are recorded by an in-game camera from a first-person view, giving the perspective of a director, or voyeur.


The making of “The Great Farce” at Federico Solmi’s studio in Brooklyn, NY


“ON DESIRE”, FRANKFURT B3 BIENNIAL OF MOVING IMAGE November – December, 2017, Frankfurt, Germany

With his mix of images from the gaming, pop culture and drawing scenes, Solmi has seized the imagination of the international art world.

At the B3 2017 Solmi presented “The Great Farce”, his biggest animation project for the public space, a 9-channel video installation that will cover the façade of the Schauspiel Frankfurt building with an all-round panorama. The largest theater in the RhineMain region is B3’s partner for the first time – by collaborating on this major project.

Exhibited at “A View From The Cloud” art salon – Federico Solmi’s  video artwork “The Magnificent Exploiter” (Christopher Columbus) 2016


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