Federico Solmi VisArts' Parallels and Peripheries: Migration and Mobility Meditates on Crossing Borders

Washington City Paper Oct 10, 2019

When a grotesque version of Donald Trump struts onto the promenade in Federico Solmi’s video piece “The Machiavellian Ones,” his cartoonish depiction is no surprise. In fact, he’s one of the least distorted and exaggerated characters around in the frenzied, colorful, hyperpatriotic gathering of figures dressed in overembellished military uniforms and powdered Georgian wigs. Like Solmi’s Trump, they have ruddy cheeks and are colored with scribbles that slide and shift as the characters clip through 3D objects in the video game-like world, but their demented, pointy-toothed smiles are wider than his, and their pupils are blacker and more blank. The Mount Rushmore depicted in acrylics on the LCD screen’s plexiglass frame is also sinister and sniveling, depicted in feverish, frightening color. Perhaps that’s fitting: Solmi clearly sees the Founding Fathers and this country’s revered leaders as just as—if not more—brutal and farcical than our current president. (A gallery copy of his coloring book Counterfeit Heroes makes this point well.)

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