American Circus

Federico Solmi

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.

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.

“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. The work I have created for Midnight Moment is a fantastical reflection of the space, the image, and the cultural meaning of Times Square, which is the epicenter of entertainment and media culture in America, and represents the influence of technology on our physical, public spaces.”

–Federico Solmi

“For Summer Season 2019, we are presenting 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. American Circus holds up a funhouse mirror to Times Square and, by extension, to America. Presented in the patriotic month of July, Federico Solmi invites the viewer to join in or question the celebration."

– Andrew Dinwiddie, Acting Director, Times Square Arts

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.

Federico Solmi (born 1973, Bologna, Italy) currently lives and works in New York and is a visiting Professor at Yale University School of Art. In 2009, Solmi was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for Video & Audio. His work is exhibited internationally in solo museum shows and biennials including forthcoming exhibitions at the Kunstkraftwerk (Germany) and the Tarble Art Center (IL).

Most recently, Solmi’s work was featured in a solo exhibition in the Ronald Feldman Gallery booth at the 2019 Armory Show (NY). His solo work has also been shown at the Haifa Museum of Art (Israel), Museo de Arte Contemporaneo del Zulia (Venezuela), and the Rochester Contemporary Art Center (NY). Solmi has also been a part of major group exhibitions such as Open Spaces 2018: a Kansas City arts experience (KS), and the Site Santa Fe Biennial (NM).



Image courtesy Federico Solmi, B3 Biennial of the Moving Image, Ronald Feldman Gallery, NY and Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles