There is something incredibly charming about a wall papered room – usually it’s cozier, and the eye is immediately drawn to the outer perimeter before focussing on anything else. Growing up in Italy, it wouldn’t be unusual to rent an old apartment with multiple layers of wallpaper, each with their own stories to tell.
I, for one, don’t have a stitch of wallpaper in my house but I am always threatening to cover a wall here and there, and my interest was renewed when I happened on Francesco Simeti‘s site. No, he does not sell wallpaper – not strictly at least. Simeti is a Sicilian artist who works between Italy and Brooklyn and has a penchant for using startling images hidden in pretty decorative patterns to highlight a much darker subtext.
Upon walking into one of his installations, the first thought will be “wallpaper”. On closer inspection, images of urban decay or poverty are mixed with onirical and fantastical landscapes out of fairy tales.
We are so desensitized by gruesome and even violent images, that by placing such images within an unexpected context, we are forced to focus on them differently.
In Simeti’s world, even the war gets a makeover. The juxtaposition of what the eye sees at first and what really goes on when we look closer is startling. Here is an installation the Bologna Museum of Modern Art, using war images from the New York Times.
And what is behind the Arabian nights?
Sometimes Simeti’s purpose is just to soften or beautify an urban landscape, like an old bakery or a subway station (incidentally, the flowers and plants depicted on glass panels at the Bensonhurt Station, will all be familiar to the Jewish, Italian and Chinese residents who have lived/live in the area).
For more, amazing images, visit francescosimeti.com
Many thanks to Manu for sending these gems over to us
All images copyright of Francesco Simeti