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FEDERICO SOLMI

The Bacchanalian Ones

April 24 - June 19, 2021

Federico Solmi The Bacchanalian Ones, 2021

Federico Solmi
The Bacchanalian Ones, 2021
Virtual Reality Experience for Oculus Quest 2 with three unique hand-sculpted masks (Theodora, George Washington, and
Colombo) and VR head sets with controllers.

Federico Solmi The Bathhouse, 2020

Federico Solmi
The Bathhouse, 2020
Five channel video installation, color, sound, Plexiglass, acrylic paint on wooden frames
09:46 runtime
72 in. x 240 in (182.9 x 609.6 cm)
 

Federico Solmi The Drunken Boat, 2019

Federico Solmi
The Drunken Boat, 2019
Acrylic paint and gold leaf on plexiglass, LCD screen, video loop
69 x 44.75 x 3.75 in (172.7 x 113.7 x 9.5 cm)
 

Federico Solmi The Kindhearted Demagogues, 2020

Federico Solmi
The Kindhearted Demagogues, 2020
Acrylic paint, gold leaf, silverleaf, pen and ink, and mixed media on wood panel with shaped wood relief
36 x 60 x 3 in (91.4 x 152.4 x 7.6 cm) 

 

Federico Solmi Mundus Novus (I), 2020

Federico Solmi
Mundus Novus (I), 2020
Mixed media, acrylic paint, pen and ink on paper
24 x 144 in (61 x 365.8 cm)
26 x 146 in (66 x 370.8 cm) Framed
 

Federico Solmi The Loving Despots, 2018

Federico Solmi
The Loving Despots, 2018
Ink and acrylic on wood panel
31.5 x 42.25 x 2 in (80 x 107.3 x 5.1 cm)
 

Federico Solmi The Grand Encounter, 2018

Federico Solmi
The Grand Encounter, 2018
Ink and acrylic on panel
24 x 48 x 1 in (61 x 121.9 x 2.5 cm)
Framed 
 

Federico Solmi Joie de Vivre (II), 2020

Federico Solmi
Joie de Vivre (II), 2020
White pen and ink, gouache on wood panel
30 x 40 in (76.2 x 101.6 cm)
30.75 x 40.75 x 1 in (78.1 x 103.5 x 2.5 cm) Framed
 

Federico Solmi The Revolutionary, 2021

Federico Solmi
The Revolutionary, 2021
White pen and ink, gouache on wood panel
36 x 40 in (91.4 x 101.6 cm)
 

Federico Solmi George Washington VR Mask, 2020

Federico Solmi
George Washington VR Mask, 2020
The Bacchanalian Ones, 2021
Acrylic paint, mixed media, ink and pen on 3D printed mask, Oculus Go VR experience
11.75 x 11.5 x 7 in (29.8 x 29.2 x 17.8 cm) 
 

Press Release

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to announce FEDERICO SOLMI: The Bacchanalian Ones, on view from April 24 through June 19, 2021. The Bacchanalian Ones marks the inaugural exhibition at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles’ new downtown space and the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.  New video-paintings, paintings, drawings, and virtual reality art will be presented during an afternoon-long opening reception to be held on Saturday, April 24th from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Appointments are optional and may be made at luisdejesus.com/contact.

The Bacchanalian Ones is the newest chapter in internationally acclaimed, multi-media artist Federico Solmi’s ongoing exploration into the archetypal myths and ideologies that makeup the American social imaginary. Combining the latest virtual reality technology, video game engines, 3D printing and digital animation software along with the more traditional media of drawing and painting, Solmi has created his own version of commedia dell’arte that reflects on the moralizing, judgmental social airs and graces of our times. 

Inspired by ancient mythology, modern myth, and contemporary celebrity culture, The Bacchanalian Ones compares the historical myth with a satirical mash-up of the powerful self-absorbed who preen and wallow in a banal spectacle of their own creation. The Los Angeles premiere of The Bathhouse, Solmi’s masterful five-channel video installation best illustrates this. In a fantastically opulent setting of unrestrained hedonism, political, religious, and military leaders with ghoulish, bouffonesque appearances are surrounded by social elite sycophants like the devotees of the cults of Bacchus and Dionysus. 

In her catalog essay for Solmi’s recent solo exhibition at the Rowan University Art Gallery in Glassboro, NJ, Eleanor Heartney writes, “Solmi’s recurring themes are the corrupting effects of the quest for power and the disastrous consequences of the mass media’s ability to manipulate popular sentiment through appeals to our worst instincts. His works spare no one. Infamous historical tyrants and despots like Genghis Khan and Benito Mussolini, more ambiguous figures like Napoleon Bonaparte and Montezuma and generally lauded heroes like George Washington and Socrates join in raucous spectacles of debauchery, greed, and megalomania. Nor does he absolve us, his audience. The sound of roaring crowds accompanying his videos also indict a populace immersed in celebrity worship and consumed with politics as entertainment.”

Solmi’s video-paintings, comprised of digital animations using gaming software and set within painted borders, draw on the much older tradition of history painting. Yet, as an artist whose process evolves as technology offers new ways to communicate, Solmi goes beyond traditional narrative-driven painting and video techniques using historical protagonists as narrators while questioning their veracity and reliability.

A presentation of recent drawings reveals Solmi’s acumen including new works that reinterpret the digital skeletons and virtual architecture of his 3-D renderings into white pen and ink and gouache drawings on black paper. In essence, he reverses the digital process by bringing the hand back to reveal what is beneath the video image created using animation software. Its political subject matter aside, the quality of line Solmi achieves in these drawings displays the intricacies of Paolo Uccello and Albrecht Durer’s drawings, and the chiaroscuro of a Goya painting. This series of large-scale drawings bring a rarely seen aspect of his work to this exhibition – his first in the gallery’s new location. 

Lastly, Solmi’s phantasmagoric world of whirling space, jerking movement and oscillating facades that strive to overwhelm the viewer’s visual field is pushed to extremes in a new interactive Virtual Reality installation. This work, presented in its own gallery, invites the visitor to enter the Bacchanal by donning a VR mask and manipulating two hand-held controllers in order to pick the perspective of one of his historical avatars. Newly empowered, and emboldened, the visitor is able to control the narrative, allowing them to experience the debauchery up close and personal through their embodiment of the avatar. 

Federico Solmi is the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Video & Audio (2009) and has been a visiting professor at Yale University School of Art and Drama. Recent and forthcoming solo and group exhibitions include Thinking about History, The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University (2021); Seeing Differently: The Phillips Collects for a New Century, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2021); Federico Solmi: The Bacchanalian Ones, Rowan University Art Gallery, Glassboro New Jersey (2020); and The Dissolve, SITE Santa Fe Biennial, New Mexico (2010). Solmi’s monumental opus, The Great Farce (2017), was recently acquired by the Phillips Collection and Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art.  His work was prominently featured in New York in 2019 in Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment and has also been included in numerous international exhibitions and biennials, including The Tides of The Century at the Ocean Flower Island Museum in Danzhou, China (2021), The Quest for Happiness—Italian Art Now, Serlachius Museum Gosta, Mantta, Finland (2019), the Beijing Media Art Biennale (2016), Frankfurt B3 Biennial of the Moving Image, Frankfurt, Germany, (2015, 2017) in which he won the BEN AWARD in 2015, the First Shenzhen Animation Biennial in China (2013), and the 54th Venice Biennial (2011). Solmi was born in 1979 in Bologna, Italy and is currently based in New York.

Founded in 2007, the Gallery’s move to downtown's Arts District represents the fourth iteration and location of Luis De Jesus Los Angeles and marks our 11th year in Los Angeles.
For further information, including images and previews, please call (213) 395-0762, or email: gallery@luisdejesus.com.

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