Franco Mattes on Wed, 4 Oct 2006 09:12:53 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Unusual sign appeared overnight causes controversy

October 3, 2006

A new artwork by the Mattes duo (aka 0100101110101101.ORG)

On the night of September the 20th 2006 a sign appeared on a building
in the center of Viterbo, an ancient city in central Italy, not far
from Rome. Apparently put by the City Council it has already caused
quite a stir. The sign is in fact an art piece by controversial artist
duo Eva and Franco Mattes (aka 0100101110101101.ORG). Looking as
official as any other street sign, it reads:


An Ordinary Building

This building was designed by an unknown architect in an irrelevant 
epoch and never belonged to an important person. The complex does not 
show any original architectural solutions, nor does it conserve any 
important works of art within. No memory is kept of any significant 
historical events occurring on this site. No known personality was 
born, lived or died here, nor is any excellent artist or sublime poet 
still working here.


Hundreds of unaware passersby have been staring at the sign: "It's 
brilliant!" comments an elderly woman "But I have no idea how to 
interpret it". While an outraged citizen living nearby comments "This 
is just unacceptable, look around, there are buildings much worse than 
this one, especially in the suburbs".

When asked to give an explanation of the sign, Franco Mattes, currently 
in New York, declared "It means what it says".

Italian curator Claudio Zecchi, who commissioned the work, comments: 
"This piece has a strong provocative nature like all their previous 
ones. The ideal stage for their art is not the official places where 
artworks get recognition and celebration like galleries and museums, 
but the city itself. It is only there that they can obtain the most 
genuine reaction".

The artists plan to leave the sign on the building until mid October, 
but whether or not the City Council and citizens will allow this, is an 
open question.

"History is not given" adds Eva Mattes "it has to be constructed, it's 
pure fiction, like in a novel".

The Mattes are not new to this kind of interventions. Over the last 
decade they drawn worldwide acclaim - and contempt - for producing some 
of the most paradoxical artworks ever, including staging a hoax 
involving a completely made-up artist, challenging and defeating Nike 
Corporation in a legal battle for a fake advertisement campaign and 
inventing ?United We Stand', a non-existent Hollywood-style 


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Downloadable images:

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