First Floor

Douche Bag City
Federico Solmi

January 9, 2010 - February 14, 2010

January 9 – February 14, 2010
Opening, Saturday, January 9 from 6-9 pm

Douche Bag City is a video installation of 9 single channel hand drawn animated films and in an edition of 8. The film is meant to be a satire about the current world economic crisis.

Douche Bag City is a hopeless place where the greedy villains of society are imprisoned for their atrocities committed against the community. There is neither hope nor escape from Douche Bag City. There are no exits and there is no chance for salvation, only punishment and torture. Douche Bag City’s prisoners are defenseless against the increasingly barbaric creatures and demons. Money, stocks and wealth are meaningless in this city.

Dick Richman is the main character of the videos. He is a greedy, dishonest, and selfish Wall Street employee who has been banished to live in Douche Bag City. His 3D characteristics are developed through video game engineering, which leave the viewer with the impression that they are part of a video game.

The video consists of several chapters; each represents a mission for the character. His ultimate goal is to survive different challenges, but the animation films are set up in a way that Dick Richman can’t win. In fact in each mission he will be killed either by spiders, monsters, or zombies, and at the end of each chapter a different ‘Game Over, Mission Failed’ drawing will appear on the screen.

In the past four years, Federico Somi has been entirely focused on developing hand-drawn animated videos. He immediately felt very comfortable with the medium, and began to construct very ambitious projects, resulting in 4 animated films within the past 3 years. The method Solmi uses is traditional, but the combination of 3-D animation, hand drawn imagery and an online collaboration with Russell Lowe, a New Zealand-based artist and professor of Digital Design at Wellington University, is what makes this work unique and revolutionary. Lowe is in charge of transforming the hand drawn storyboard by Solmi into 3D footage.
He typically uses a combination of traditional key-frame animation and real-time animation with computer gaming engines. They discuss the adjustments to the 3D footage through online conferences and once they are satisfied, Solmi prints out the final footage as a series of frames and begins to draw out the sequence. In order to develop a 4-minute video, Solmi needs to execute approx 1200, 8.5 x 11 inch, handmade colored drawings, which will take approximately 12 months to create.

Once the drawings are complete, he scans each one into the computer and sends them back to Lowe. They then edit the frames and add Solmi’s selected audio portion. This method allows the video-animation to have the perspective and special effect of a modern videogame, but at the same time maintain the integrity of a drawing. The final video incorporates hand drawn textures applied to digital models that are compiled within a contemporary computer game this structure in turn is then overlaid with the hand drawings. These are then inserted into the video game structure.
The result is an animation with dynamic perspectives and complex camera angles that possesses a visual quality that is absolutely unique.

Federico Solmi

January 9 – February 14, 2010
Opening, Saturday, January 9 from 6-9 pm

The year 2009 was a turbulent one for Federico Solmi, who provoked much commotion and anger in Europe with works from his video The Evil Empire, bringing upon censorship in Spain and France, which then escalated to an infamous trial in Italy for obscenity, blasphemy and offense to religion. After being labeled as a controversial artist by many European newspapers, the charges against Federico Solmi were dismissed, and he was later honored in the United States with the 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship for Video Art. He has since been invited to exhibit his work at the upcoming Santa Fe Biennale in New Mexico.

LMAKprojects is proud to present Federico Solmi’s second solo exhibition, entitled, From Uterus to Grave with no Happy Ending. This exhibition will take a look at his newest works, the video installation entitled Douche Bag City, alongside his previous videos, King Kong and the End of the World, Rocco Never Dies, The Giant and The Evil Empire series.

At the entrance of this exhibition, an inscription warns the visitor: Please abandon all your hopes and dreams before you enter this gallery. You are in the reign of Evil and you will burn in hell with me. In fact, this exhibition proposes a vision of a present that is crumbling, of a system that approves and trusts without questioning the fragile foundation on which our culture and post-modernist society is based. From his first videos to his latest works, Federico Solmi uses a sardonic aesthetic to portray a dystopian vision of our present day society. His videos are satires about the evilness and the vices that affect contemporary society and mankind.

The artist’s technique, meticulous and complex, combines traditional, hand drawn animation with digital models, utilizing computer gaming engines. The result is a unique hand-made texture within a real-time 3D framework, created with his long time New Zealand collaborator, 3D artist Russell Lowe. Lowe is a Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales, in Australia.

Lee Gibson is a Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. In the past tree years Gibson has collaborated with Solmi, utilizing cutting edge 3D Digital Fabrication practices testing their
implications in contemporary culture.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication with an essay written by Blanca De La Torre, curator of ARTIUM, Museum of Contemporary Art in Vitoria, Spain.