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S e i n f o r m a
Specialized Journalistic Services (SJS)
Servicios Especializados de Información
°The Latin-Canadian Organization of Human Rights and Freedom of Expression
°Organización Latino-Canadiense de Derechos Humanos y Libertad de Expresión
Mass Media and Free Expression
SCANDAL AND APPLAUSES IN MADRID FILM FESTIVAL
The Evil Empire causes
controversy in Spain
The artist uses images culled from the video game industry, pop culture, and the Internet and collages them with a historical influence to produce original artworks about the seemingly disparate subject at hand. (Video Federico Solmi/Seinforma)
The movie shows the shameless life of the fictitious Pope Urban 69, with his eyes popping out of his head and with a shark denture, flies over The Vatican and over Hollywood, has sex with nuns and priests, and destroys and brings darkness over the world.
Madrid, Spain.- The Evil Empire, an animated film made by the Italian Federico Solmi, didn’t go unnoticed in the VII Madrid Edition Festival (FEM) of New Creators organized by the Art Theme Foundation, with a subsidy from the City Council and Madrid’s Community.
And it is for nothing: the short movie shows the shameless life of the fictitious Pope Urban 69, with his eyes popping out of his head and with a shark denture flies over Saint Peter and over Hollywood, has sex with nuns and priests and destroys and brings darkness over the world.
The short movie is currently being edited but it’s already dividing the waters. Federico Solmi, the author explains: “The animated movie happens in the heart of the Vatican in the year 2046. Surround by the glorious fresco paintings and the magnitude of St. Peter’s Basilica a fictitious Pope is described as a young man who sweeps away everything on his way who has an addiction to porn, just like every regular guy that cannot withstand the temptations of this contemporary society.”
The Evil Empire was made in collaboration with the New Zealander artist Russell Lowe. This is not the first Solmi’s piece to be polemic; Solmi is a 34 years old man from Bologna. Before this he surprised everyone with “Rocco never dies”, an animated movie about the porn star Rocco Sifredi.
In the middle of the controversy developed in the Poetic Terrorism section of the Festival, Victor del Campo, member of the organization, explained that the scandal was fueled by “those who ignore what the art world is. Talking about heresy makes me think about the Inquisition and the bonfires, maybe that’s what some people want to recover.”
Elga Wimmer, the section selector, said that the idea was to show the different ways of terror existing in the society, from the terrorism to the security measures to confront it. “The FEM is not an amateur meeting” she said “it has a history that proves it is a prestigious exposition. And nothing like this had ever happened before. This is the first time something like this takes place.”
Federico Solmi was born in Bologna, Italy in April 1973 and currently lives and works in New York. His exhibitions, which often combine articulate installations composed of different media such as video, drawings, mechanical sculptures and paintings, uses bright colors and a satirical aesthetic to portray a dystopian vision of our present day society.
Power is often the nemesis in his worlds, manifesting itself in the elliptical layers of the Guggenheim Museum (King Kong and the End of the World, video 2006), the shiny Prada shoes of the Pope (The Evil Empire, video 2007), and the personal obsession to be as famous as the giant letters that spell out “Hollywood”.
The artist uses images culled from the video game industry, pop culture, and the Internet and collages them with a historical influence to produce original artworks about the seemingly disparate subject at hand. In “The Evil Empire”, he looks to the disciplines of the old masters; in one frame of the animation one can pick out a recognizable scene from the video game Doom 3 superimposed on the magnificence that is the dome of the St Peter’s Basilica.
The process of his art, similar to his inspirations, involves the cutting edge as well as the ancient; a 3D environment is built to provide a structure for the final drawings that compose his videos. What results from the combination of all these elements is art that is humorous, absurd, and scathingly critical of our contemporary society.
Federico’s animations have been featured in some of the most prestigious events dedicated to contemporary art and his work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the World including Drawing Center, New York; Victoria Memorial Museum of Calcutta, India; Contemporary Art Museum of Naples, Italy; and Contemporary Art Center of Roubaix, France.
In addition, his animations have been screened in several film and video festivals, as well as in established contemporary art fairs including Pulse Miami; Pulse New York; Art Brussels; Maco Mexico; Scope Art Fair, Basel; Scope Art Fair, New York; and Artissima. His work has been reviewed by publications such as Flash Art Magazine, Tema Celeste, Art Actuelle, Contemporary Magazine, ArtNet.com, Il Giornale, Marie Claire, Animal Magazine, El Mundo, Exibart on Paper, JamesWagner.com, Daily News, El Pais, Il Mattino, Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, Roma, and Duellanti. Exibart on Paper, an Italian based contemporary art magazine, features a drawing from the video “King Kong and the End of the World” on the cover of its January 2006 issue.
“As an untiring observer of the alienated scenery of the metropolitan reality, I am focusing, in my installations and videos, to analyze the paradoxical situation that modifies our approach and our attitude toward everyday life. The neurotic urban landscape, the frenetic life in the big city and the colossal contradiction of contemporary society, are the key themes on which my artistic search has been based.
Catapulted into the middle of an undecipherable reality, the protagonists of my artwork are typically lost characters, confused people who are desperately seeking their role and their identity, forced to live inside a mad and hostile society without rules. A world that inexorably continues to regenerate and to renew itself, but at the same time is falling apart in front of our eyes.
The universe that I like to represent is the exaltation of a present that is crumbling. It is also a criticism of a system that approves and trusts without questioning the fragile foundation on which our culture and post-modernist society is based. To be completely honest, I am not interested to transfer to canvas the most important facts that are sculpting our age.
I absolutely do not consider myself a chronicler of the current days. On the contrary, I am simply using the contemporary events to confuse and to "disinform" the viewers, with the ultimate goal to recreate and enlarge, in my installation, the common feeling of disorientation which is characteristic of the historic period that we are passing through today."
SEINFORMA CONTEST: PROPOSE A NAME AND A DESIGN FOR THE NEW CURRENCY
The Bank of the South will enable
a Latin American common currency