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November 15, 2006

Opening at Ars Virtua Tonight


13 Most Beautiful Avatars

13 Most Beautiful Avatars by Eva and Franco Mattes (a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG) :: Curated by Marisa Olson :: Nov. 15 - Dec. 29, 2006 at Second Life's Ars Virtua gallery. Nov. 30 - Dec. 19, 2006 at The Italian Academy, Columbia University (NYC).

"13 Most Beautiful Avatars" is the newest installment of Time Shares, a series of online exhibitions co-presented by the New Museum of Contemporary Art and Rhizome.org, in conjunction with Rhizome's "Tenth Anniversary Festival of Art & Technology". The exhibition, in Second Life's increasingly popular Ars Virtua gallery a virtual nonprofit arts organization will mirror the art gallery in which the newest work by Italian artists Eva and Franco Mattes (a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG) is being exhibited.

The Matteses have been living in the virtual world, Second Life, for over a year, exploring its terrain and interacting with its peculiar inhabitants. The result of their "video-game flanerie" is a series of portraits, entitled "13 Most Beautiful Avatars". Not unlike Warhol's entourage of stars, captured in the "13 Most Beautiful Boys" and "13 Most Beautiful Women" portrait series emerging from his famous Screen Tests, the Matteses' "13 Most Beautiful Avatars" captures the most visually dynamic and celebrated "stars" of Second Life.

The portraits reflect Second Life aesthetics, featuring the bright colors, "artificial" light, broad flat areas, 3D shapes, and surreal perspectives that are typical of this virtual world. Overall, the series draws on the technological developments which allow the creation of alternate identities within simulated worlds, and questions the impact such technologies have on art and society. Despite the relative newness of using video game-derived source materials, the avatars' icons recall questions common to earlier eras of portraiture, including the cultural and psychological context of the images, and the relationships between high art and subculture, between contemporary art and "traditional" art forms, and between art and life itself.

Eva and Franco Mattes are known for their controversial artworks, including staging high-profile hoaxes and defeating the Nike Corporation in a legal battle for a fake advertisement campaign. They are the recipients of the 2006 "Premio New York" grant, sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian Cultural Institute, New York. Their real-world exhibit takes place at the Italian Academy at New York's Columbia University, and a 3D replica of this physical exhibition space has been recreated for presentation of an exhibition identical to the "real" one, at Ars Virtua.

The Second Life / Ars Virtua show is open November 15 - December 29, and the Italian Academy show is open November 30 - December 19. The Ars Virtua exhibit will be launched with an in-world opening reception on November 15, from 6-8pm SLT/9-11pm EST, here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/dowden/42/59/52/?title=Ars%20Virtua


Downloadable images: http://www.0100101110101101.org/home/portraits/thirteen.html

Posted by jo at November 15, 2006 10:55 AM