“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 uniformed, unearned medals and invented awards.”
- Oriana Fallaci, Interviews with History and Conversations with Power
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to present Federico Solmi's The Ballroom at VOLTA NY 2017, Booth A3, from March 1 - 5, 2017. The Ballroom is an installation of five unique animated videos arranged in the form of a classical amphitheater, replete with crimson curtains, depicting a gathering of past and present historical figures in a palatial mansion, played out in five different scenes.
Included among these historical and mythical figures are Sitting Bull, George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, Chancellor Bismarck, Genghis Khan, Pharaoh Ramses, Inca Emperor Pachacuti, Alexander the Great, Christopher Columbus, Pope Benedict XVI, Julius Caesar, Montezuma, Empress Theodora, Benito Mussolini, Marie Antoinette, and other powerful men and woman throughout history. The presentation at VOLTA also includes several new videos featuring the newest member of The Brotherhood—Donald Trump.
Federico Solmi’s animated video works parody the iconography of historical portraiture through a group of absurd and grotesque portraits of the world’s most feared and beloved leaders—presented as members of The Brotherhood, a secret society whose conspiratorial goal is to keep chaos alive in the world and promote the degeneration of human race. The Brotherhood advances Solmi’s biting critique of a present-day dystopian society that inexorably continues to regenerate and renew itself, even as it falls apart in front of our eyes. In hand-drawn, color-saturated, satirical videos Solmi torches the veneer of mystique and aura surrounding these legendary figures from the past. He exposes history as a propaganda-fabricated ruse, manipulated and carefully crafted to suit their ideals and selfish interests.
In his work, Solmi underscores how skewed, incomplete, and irresolute our knowledge of the past is, and challenges us to question that knowledge, particularly how our own views and biases may be perpetuating the myth. The Brotherhood seems to affirm that throughout the history of humanity politics and government has always been a ruthless activity for the powerful and the rich (not unlike today), an elite game where the common person is simply nothing more than a voyeur to an engrossing spectacle.
Federico Solmi (born in Italy, 1973) currently lives and works in New York. Current and recent museum exhibitions include solo projects at the Haifa Museum of Art, Israel, and Centro Cultural Matucana 100, Santiago, Chile; and group exhibitions at MIT Boston, Artium Museum—Centre of Contemporary Art in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain; CA2M—Centro De Arte Dos De Mayo, Madrid, Spain; and MACBA Museum, Barcelona, Spain.
Solmi's works have been exhibited in a number of international surveys, including the XVI Quadriennale di Roma, Palazzo Delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy (opening October 2016); the Frankfurt B3 Biennial of Moving image (2015), where he was awarded the Grand Prize; First Shenzhen Animation Biennial, China (2013); 54th Venice Biennial (2011), and the 2010 SITE Santa Fe Biennial in New Mexico. In 2009, Federico Solmi was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in the category of Video & Audio. Federico Solmi is currently visiting Professor at Yale University, New Haven, CT.