Francesco Simeti: Swell at Open Source Gallery
Francesco Simeti presents “Swell,” a theatrical installation at Open Source Gallery that explores human impact on the environment. “Swell” will be on view at Open Source from April 22-May 27, 2017 with an opening reception on April 22 from 7-9pm.
In “Swell,” Simeti transforms appropriated images from Brooklyn waterways, such as the Gowanus Canal, into a motorized, sculptural installation in which the public can contemplate the consequences of human activity on our surroundings. The diametrically opposed elements present in the history of the canal–life and death, order and destruction, reality and fiction, the light-hearted and the devastating–mirror Simeti’s practice, which amplifies multifaceted environmental, social and political concerns into an immersive sculptural installation. “Swell” uses ornament and subtext as an instrument of political critique. Playful historical images of Coney Island rides and other human intervention along the water intertwine with scenes of flora and fauna that once flourished along the Gowanus Canal. Adopting a DIY aesthetic, Simeti takes inspiration from puppet theater and Baroque mechanical automata, which combined an awe of nature with an affinity for artifice, to explore the social, cultural and historical significance of Brooklyn waterways. Combining the installation with workshops, collaborative projects and partnerships with local organizations, “Swell” engages with the consequences of human activity on a local level, depicting nature as both a playground and a battle zone, and encourages action. Visitors are invited to explore different avenues of inquiry, taking time for self-reflection while simultaneously connecting with their community and its history.
Francesco Simeti (b. 1968, Italy) received his BA from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Italy). He has created public art projects in the NYC transit system at the 4th Avenue-9th Street Gowanus and the 18th Avenue Bensonhurst Gardens subway stations. Simeti has exhibited at spaces including the Risd Museum (USA), Art & Idea Gallery (Mexico) and Columbia University (USA). His work has been featured at the Shanghai Biennial (China), Palermo Gallery of Modern Art (Italy), MASS MoCA (USA), Musée de Design et d’Arts Appliqués Contemporains (Switzerland), and the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art (USA).