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Just paper it over – Francesco Simeti’s wall art

Posted in Things We Love

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.

Invisible Cities
Invisible Cities

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.

Citta' d'Oro
Citta’ d’Oro

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.

Bologna Museum of Modern Art
Bologna Museum of Modern Art
Watching the War - close up of the above
Watching the War – close up of the above

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?

Arabian Nights
Arabian Nights

 

Arabian Nights close-up
Arabian Nights close-up

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).

Wholewheat
Whole-wheat

 

Bensonhurst Gardens
Bensonhurst Gardens

For more, amazing images, visit francescosimeti.com

Many thanks to Manu for sending these gems over to us

All images copyright of Francesco Simeti

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6 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on nopenguinsincalifornia and commented:
    Un artista che non conoscevo e che mi meraviglia davvero , è proprio adatto al mondo di Alice
    ringrazio il Tafanus per averlo presentato e avermi permesso l’approfondimento

    March 5, 2014
    |Reply
  2. Beautiful.

    My appreciation for wallpaper has grown as I get older. I would love to go all out and use a strong patten in a powder room. One day.

    September 6, 2013
    |Reply
    • Look forward to a post about it then! always looking for decorating inspiration

      September 7, 2013
      |Reply
  3. silvia
    silvia

    That’s beautiful. I wonder if that work at Mambo in Bologna is permanent, I’ll check it out and visiting his website I recognised an installation he did at Archiginnasio, outstanding…
    I usually have mixed feelings on wallpaper but in this case no doubts at all

    September 6, 2013
    |Reply
    • I doubt it’s permanent but I would love to know. Where is it anyway?

      September 7, 2013
      |Reply
      • silvia
        silvia

        I’ll take you there soon if your plans are confirmed. Mambo is in via don Minzoni, in a beautiful urban area dedicated to the university, the cineteca and the GLT community centre. It’s were once resided Manifattura tabacchi

        September 7, 2013
        |Reply

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