At Art Los Angeles Contemporary, I was introduced to the amazingly humorous work of NY-based artist Federico Solmi, who is also a Guggenheim Fellow.
On view, at Jerome Zodo‘s booth, was one of Solmi’s most controversial works, The Evil Empire, a 4-minute video that chronicles the exploits of a porn-addicted Pope in the fictional town Vatic-Anal-City (A trailer of it is at the end of this post). I watched it a few times, back to back, and with each viewing, I chuckled and marveled at the genius of it. The subject matter definitely inspired conversation; it hit every scandal that the Catholic church should be ashamed of, and then some. But the beauty of it all was how it was presented – a series of crude, bright drawings strung together stop-motion style. This was probably the first time I ever gave consideration to owning video art. Well, this was before I came to know the price – $20,000! And being around since 2008, all 10 copies of this video are now accounted for. I was able to at least leave with a copy of the catalog.
In addition, there were a bunch of these panels from the film mounted on wood that appealed to me.
…and if things go my way, I may be able to acquire a few of them.
Here’s a copy + paste of Federico’s Artist Statement:
As an untiring observer of the alienated scenery of the metropolitan reality, I am focusing in my works, to analyze the paradoxical and neurotic urban landscape and the colossal contradiction of contemporary society. These are the key themes on which my artistic search has been based.
The protagonists of my videos are always catapulted into the middle of an undecipherable reality. Typically they are all lost characters; confused inhabitants of a world in which are desperately seeking their role and their identity and forced to live inside a mad and hostile society without rules. This is a world that inexorably continues to regenerate and to renew itself, while at the same time is falling in front of our eyes. The universe that I like to represent is the exaltation of a present that is crumbling apart. 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.
Here’s a video clip of The Evil Empire:
Link: Federico Solmi