VIRTUAL EXHIBIT IN ONLINE SECOND LIFE GALLERY MODELS REAL WORLD SHOW
Italian artists Eva and Franco Mattes (a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG)
present "13 Most Beautiful Avatars", a Second Life portrait series, at
Second Life's Ars Virtua gallery.
"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