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Any facet of contemporary life can be exemplified, criticized, rewritten or revealed. The role of art is as a vehicle of engagement, to offer society a means of self-reflection and perspective.

-Federico Solmi

Federico Solmi - Projects - Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

For Summer 2019, Times Square Arts presents a trio of Midnight Moments that are idiosyncratic portraits of Times Square, accentuating significant aspects of this neighborhood, and revealing almost as much about the artists who made them.

Federico Solmi is a multi-disciplinary artist whose bright, absurdist works offer pointed critiques of historical narratives, contemporary culture, and the corruption and hypocrisy of the powerful. Solmi’s elaborate process frequently combines drawing and painting with digital and gaming technologies. After scanning his original paintings, he texture-maps them onto 3-D models of characters and environments within a game design engine. He stages each scene as a virtual movie set and controls the animated characters like puppets, using motion capture technology and computer scripts instead of strings. Solmi then films the scene within the game engine and edits the footage to create the final video.

Solmi's American Circus holds up a funhouse mirror to Times Square and, by extension, to America. Presented in the patriotic month of July, Solmi invites the viewer to join in or question the celebration. American Circus is a maximalist portrait of Times Square as an eternal carnival, filled with food stands, whirling amusement rides, American flags, fireworks, an absurd collection of iconic world landmarks, and signs advertising “EVERYTHING 99¢ OR LESS.” A cheering crowd seems to revel in a continuous spectacle of entertainment, consumption, and nationalism.

American Circus is a world premiere in a series of works titled The Great Farce. It is adapted from a nine-channel video installation by the same title that Solmi created for the 2017 B3 Biennial of the Moving Image in Frankfurt, Germany.

Midnight Moment is the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition, synchronized on electronic billboards throughout Times Square nightly from 11:57pm to midnight. Presented by the Times Square Advertising Coalition and curated by Times Square Arts since 2012, it has an estimated annual viewership of 2.5 million.

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