Postmasters 22 years

  February 17 - March 17, 2007

EVA and FRANCO MATTES (aka 0100101110101101.ORG)
"13 Most Beautiful Avatars"

opening reception for both shows: Saturday, February 17, 6-8 pm

Postmasters Gallery is pleased to present "13 Most Beautiful Avatars," a portrait series from Second Life by EVA and FRANCO MATTES (a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG).

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, 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. 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. The project was created during the artists' stay at The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University. The Matteses are the recipients of 2006 Premio New York Prize for most promising young Italian Artists. The Italian Academy exhibition of six of the avatars was re-created inside of Second Life's Ars Virtua Gallery in a show co-presented by Rhizome and the New Museum of Contemporary Art. A portfolio of prints produced by Jean-Yves Noblet Contemporary Prints will also available.

Born in 1976, Eva and Franco Mattes, (a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG) have been pioneers in the movement remixing famous digital art pieces and performing Life Sharing: a real-time digital self portrait, during which they submitted to satellite surveillance for an entire year. In the last decade they have created unpredictable mass-scale performances staged outside the traditional art venues and involving an unaware audience, where truth and falsehood mix to the point of being indistinguishable. They created and released the code for a computer virus, erected fake architectural heritage signs, run media campaigns for non-existent action movies (United We Stand), and even convinced the entire populace of Vienna that Nike had purchased the city's historic Karlsplatz and was about to rename it "Nikeplatz". Their controversial performances, often bordering on illegality, have been widely discussed in the media earning them the name "Bonnie and Clyde of Contemporary Art". Their works have been shown internationally including: Collection Lambert, Avignon; Fondazione Pitti Discovery, Florence, Lentos Museum of Modern Art, Linz; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; ICC, Tokyo; Manifesta 4, Frankfurt and Galeria Civica di Arte Contemporanea, Trento. and the Venice Biennale.

For more information on the Second Life project and an interview with the artists:

Postmasters Gallery, located in Chelsea 459 West 19th Street (corner of 10th Avenue), is open Tuesday through Saturday to 11 - 6 pm. Please contact Magdalena Sawon at 212-727-3323 with any questions or image requests.