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Federico Solmi (b. 1973, Bologna, Italy) is an internationally acclaimed multi-media artist who employs a satirical aesthetic in order to portray a dystopian vision of our present-day society. Combining traditional media, such as drawing and painting, with emerging technologies such as 3D animation, video-game software, and kinetic technology, Solmi's animations playfully and irreverently depict the most loathed and hypocritical aspects of contemporary life and western society through absurd narratives. Solmi stages a a virtual world where our leaders become puppets and the absurdity of exploitative action is accentuated, brilliantly animated by computer scripts and motion capture. 

Solmi’s process of creating video animation involves the construction and development of a virtual world within a video game engine. Surface textures and characters are scanned from original paintings and drawings, later applied to 3D-models designed in Maya and ZBrush. Within each designed "game," Solmi uses the first-person view to explore chaotic environment as both voyeur and director. During production the narratives and images continually evolve and are further developed with drawings and storyboards. Various characters' actions are captured in real time with screen recording software, then edited and overlaid with audio compositions. Once exported and assembled, the resulting video-paintings merge seamlessly with the hand-painted frames surrounding each tv monitor. Each project can take up to three years to complete. 

Solmi’s animated video series The Evil Empire (2006-2009) provoked controversy and censorship in France and Spain, eventually escalating to a now infamous trial in Italy in which he was charged with and tried for obscenity, blasphemy, and offense to religion. The hand-drawn animation is set in "Vatic-Anal-City" in the year 2046 and portrays the exploits of a fictional pope who is addicted to online porn and predatory sex with priests and nuns. A number of related objects accompanied the series, including a sculpture of a crucifix that features Solmi as the Pope with a large grin and a huge erection. The charges were ultimately dismissed, but the attention from this controversy led to Solmi to receiving a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship. Other videos and series by Solmi include: The Brotherhood (2015-2018), Chinese Democracy and the Last Day on Earth (2012), King Kong and the End of the World (2005), The Giant, and Rocco Never Dies (2004).

Recent exhibitions include The Great Farce (2019) presented by Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment across 100 Times Square billboards; The Great Masquerade (2019), a 20-year survey exhibition at Tarble Arts Center, Charleston, Illinois, and Kunstkraftwerk, Leipzig, Germany; Open Spaces: A Kansas City Experience (2018), organized by Dan Cameron and presented at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Gallery of Art; The Good Samaritan (2018) at Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY; The Great Farce (2017) at Frankfurt B3 Biennial, a commissioned work presented on monumental digital billboards on the exterior of the Schpielhaus, The Frankfurt Opera House; 2016 Quadrinnale di Roma, Rome, Italy; and the 2015 B3 Frankfurt Biennial, at which he was awarded the Ben Main Prize, the festival’s top prize. Solmi’s work has been exhibited in numerous museums, institutions, and festivals, including: 54th Venice Biennale (2011); 2010 SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Drawing Center, New York; Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Kasseler Kustverein; the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, Kassel; Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennial, Shenzhen, China; National Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow; Reina Sofia and CA2M Centro de Arte de Mayo, Madrid; Loop Barcelona; Australian Center of Moving Images, Melbourne; Victoria Memorial Museum, Calcutta, India; Contemporary Art Center of Rouboix; Palazzo Delle Arti, Naples, and Palazzo Delle Esposizioni, Rome; and Impakt Film and Video Festival, Utrecht. 

 

Chinese Democracy And The Last Day On Earth, 2011-2014

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Song of Tyranny (Chinese Democracy and the End of the World Series) 

Song of Tyranny (Chinese Democracy and the End of the World Series) 

The first part, "A Song of Tyranny" centers on the protagonist in the phase of becoming a dictator and examines the values and models that will influence his rise to power. Beyond the apparent Manichean character, Solmi's playful aesthetics integrate a series of visual metaphors to present viewers with a comedic-grotesque parabola on power and excess, while inviting a deeper consideration of inconspicuous Sinophobic sentiments spurred by China's capitalists successes as well as America's own interests and practices. This sarcastic and irreverent tone allows Solmi to target the epitome of human folly, greed, and lust for power, preventing a simple reproduction of the good-versus-evil dichotomy. Solmi's complex production technique combines traditional hand drawn animation with digital models utilizing computer gaming engines to create this high-definition "blockbuster-style" video.

Chinese Democracy and the End of the World 

Chinese Democracy and the End of the World 

Chinese Democracy and the Last Day on Earth is the next chapter in Federico Solmi's ongoing narrative of a post-secular, materialistic contemporary society thatexamines the self-destructive nature of mankind through satirical commentary on repressive behavior and authoritarian power structures, as well as misguided ethical and moral values. Through a dystopian metaphor, this swarming animation articulates a fictitious portrayal of an imaginary 21st century Chinese leader, idolized by his crowd of subjects, whose desire is total world domination. Driven by ruthless ambition and a blood-thirsty appetite, he has brought Earth under his control with an iron fist. With America as the only obstacle standing in his way to victory, our beloved Tyrant embarks on his final march toward immortal glory, culminating with an epic finale--a military invasion of Times Square and the annihilation of planet Earth.

FEDERICO SOLMI: Return of the Prodigal Son (The Chinese Democracy and the Last Day on Earth Trilogy)

 Return of the Prodigal Son (The Chinese Democracy and the Last Day on Earth Trilogy)

The Return of the Prodigal Son opens with remnants of Earth's sick capitalistic society, now drifting through cosmic purgatory. The protagonist's spaceship lands on an unknown planet, where the hidden truth behind his success is revealed. However, the final episode of the saga exposes the folly of his ambition and a blind spot in the commander's gluttonous quest for eternal glory. In the Chinese Democracy and the Last Day on Earth trilogy, Federico Solmi aims to lampoon the contemporary society and the self–destructive nature of mankind. In contrast with their playful faux-naïve aesthetics, the videos indict a male dominated, hierarchical world controlled by vicious politicians, corrupt businessmen, and ruthless corporations, as the cause behind the decline of human race.

Chinese Democracy and the Last Day on Earth expands upon Federico Solmi's ongoing narrative of a post-modern, post-secular, materialistic society that examines the self-destructive nature of mankind through satirical commentary on repressive behavior, authoritarian power structures, and misguided ethical and moral values.  Through a dystopian metaphor, this swarming animation articulates a fictitious portrayal of an imaginary 21st century Chinese leader. Idolized by his subjects and driven by ruthless ambition and a blood-thirsty appetite, he has brought Earth under his control. With America as the only obstacle standing in the way to world domination, the “Tyrant” general embarks on his final march toward immortal glory, culminating with an epic finale—a military invasion of New York’s Times Square and the annihilation of planet Earth.

Solmi's complex production technique combines traditional hand drawn animation with digital models, utilizing computer gaming engines to create this high-definition "blockbuster-style" video.  The result is an absolutely unique hand-made texture within a real-time 3D framework, created in collaboration with Australian based 3D artist, Russell Lowe.

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