Eva and Franco Mattes

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Eva and Franco Mattes
Born 1976 (age 39–40)
Nationality Italian
Known for Conceptual Art, New Media Art
Notable work Artist

Eva and Franco Mattes (both born in Italy in 1976) are a duo of artists based in New York. Neither of them received an art education, and since meeting in Madrid in 1994, they have never separated. Operating under the pseudonym 0100101110101101.org, they are counted among the second wave of the Internet artists, after Net.art, and are renowned for their subversion of public media. They are based in Brooklyn, New York, but also travel frequently throughout Europe and the United States.[1]


In 2012, they received a visit from Hans Bernhard of Ubermorgen. From 1995–97, the Mattes toured the world’s most important museums and stole dozens of fragments from well-known works by artists such as Duchamp, Kandinsky, Beuys, and Rauschenberg.[2] This work, titled "Stolen Pieces," exhibited the stolen fragments in glass cabinets: a porcelain piece of Duchamp's urinal, skin from an Alberto Burri painting, etc.[3] They have manipulated video games, internet technologies and street advertising to reveal truths concealed by contemporary society.[4] Their media facades were believable enough to elicit embarrassing reactions from governments, the public, and the art world.[5] In addition, they have orchestrated several unpredictable mass performances, staged outside art spaces, and involved unwitting audiences in scenarios that mingle truth and falsehood to the point of being indistinguishable.[6] Their off-the-wall performances—for which they have been sued multiple times—include affixing fake architectural heritage plaques (An Ordinary Building, 2006), rolling out a media campaign for a non-existent action movie (United We Stand, 2005) and even convincing the people of Vienna that Nike had purchased the city’s historic Karlsplatz and was about to rename it “Nikeplatz” (Nike Ground, 2003).[7]

Their art has been featured at the Venice Biennale (2001), the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2001), Manifesta, Frankfurt (2002) and in other venues worldwide, including the New Museum, New York (2005), Collection Lambert, Avignon (2006) and Performa, New York (2007 and 2009).[8]

Internet projects[edit]

The couple first gained notoriety in 1998 by taking the domain name vaticano.org, in order to undermine the Catholic Church’s official website.[9] They then went on a cloning spree, copying and remixing other artists’ works, e.g., Jodi.org. They also targeted “closed” websites, such as Hell.com, thereby turning private art into public art. They explained that people use websites interactively and follow what they are supposed to do. The Mattes, on the other hand, viewed websites in a different way and decided that they can express themselves differently. By doing something that is not predicted by the author of the website, "the beholder becomes an artist and the artist becomes a beholder: a powerless witness of what happens to his work." Their 2010 work, "No Fun," epitomizes the sentiment in the previous quote because it utilizes the social networking and video chat website Chatroulette to exhibit Franco Mattes staging a false suicide (hanging) in part of the screen and people's responses to it in other parts of the screen.[10] Another example of their online work is "Medication Valse" (2009), which serves as a digital gallery space to the avatars of the naked artists and the clothed attendees whose bodies collide and intermesh.[11]

Darko Maver[edit]

The Mattes shocked the mainstream art world with the invention of Darko Maver,[12] a reclusive radical artist, who achieved cult status and was featured in the Venice Biennale, before being exposed as pure fiction. This Serbian artist created by the two, presented very gruesome and realistic models of murder victims. He exposed the brutality of war in the Balkans to the world. Many of the photographs and models shown were reenactments of actual deaths found on the web. Their message to the world was: while artists are making shocking artwork, absorbed by the market, real violence is being perpetrated and ignored by a media-anesthetized world.

Works on Second Life[edit]

Eva and Franco first revealed their love for Second Life through their Avatar's portraits (2006-2007). In an interview with Domenico Quaranta, they stated that the self-portraits of the 13 Most Beautiful Avatars were not meant to reveal "the way you 'are', but rather on the way you 'want to be'".[13] The Mattes wanted to stress that our culture revolves around plagiarism. They followed up by saying that their project was not a completely original piece. In fact, they stated that anyone who claims that their work is an original, should really "start doubting" their mental health, because practically everything in this world, not just art, is a reproduction or remix of something that has been released before.

Inviting other members of Second Life to participate or watch, the Mattes created Synthetic Performances. Before scripting their own performances, in 2007 they started out with Reenactments of historical performances: Marina Abramović's Imponderabilia,[14] Joseph Beuys' 7000 Oaks, Gilbert&George's The Singing Sculpture,[15] Valie Export's Tapp und Tastkino,[16] Vito Acconci's Seedbed[17] and Chris Burden's Shoot.[18]


  • Stolen Pieces, 1995–97
  • Darko Maver, 1998, a made-up artist
  • Vaticano.org, 1998, one of the first spoof websites
  • Hybrids, 1998, online Net Art collages
  • Copies, 1999, copies and remixes of popular Net Art websites
  • Life Sharing, 2000–03, the artists' personal computer turned into an open server
  • Biennale.py (with Epidemic), 2001, a computer virus as a work of art
  • The K Thing, 2001
  • Vopos, 2002, one year of satellite self-surveillance
  • Nike Ground, 2003, a fake Nike advertisement campaign
  • United We Stand, 2005, advertisement campaign for a non existent movie
  • An Ordinary Building, 2006, a fake architectural heritage sign
  • Portraits, 2006, series of Second Life avatars' portraits printed on canvas
  • Synthetic Performances, 2007, re-enactments of performances within video games
  • It's always six o'clock, 2008
  • Traveling by Telephone, 2008, photo series consisting of Half-Life screenshots
  • Bagless Canister Cyclonic Vacuum, 2009, outdoor billboard
  • Medication Valse, 2009, avatar video piece
  • No Fun, 2010, performance made through Chatroulette, simulating a suicide by hanging
  • Freedom, 2010, online performance
  • My Generation, 2010, video collage on broken computer
  • Plan C, 2010, a secretive project in Chernobyl
  • Catt, 2010, fake Maurizio Cattelan sculpture
  • Colorless, Odorless and Tasteless, 2011, arcade game that emits carbon monoxide as the player accelerates
  • Rot, 2011, fake Dieter Roth sculpture
  • The Others, 2011, slideshow of 10.000 photos stolen from personal computers
  • Exhibition Title Change, 2012
  • Emily's Video, 2012, series of video reactions to a deep web-sourced video clip
  • Brand Innovations for Ubiquitous Authorship, 2013, a stolen group show curated by the Mattes
  • 1pm, 54 Franklin, 2013, surveillance video documenting the theft of a new work by the Mattes
  • Art Project Purchase Agreement, 2014, contract to purchase artwork ideas from artists
  • Image Search Result, 2014, Internet image search results printed on various objects by online services
  • Befnoed, 2014–present, crowdsourced video performance series, posted daily on YouTube
  • Don't Follow The Wind, 2015–present, art exhibition surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, only made accessible after the area is decontaminated
  • Dark Content, 2015, videos accessible only via the deep web


  1. ^ Artists' website 0100101110101101.org
  2. ^ Blake Gopnik (17 May 2010). "This work is a steal!". The Washington Post. 
  3. ^ Fisher, Cora. "EVA AND FRANCO MATTES AKA 0100101110101101.ORG Reality is Overrated". The Brooklyn Rail (June 2010). 
  4. ^ Quaranta, Domenico (2009). Eva and Franco Mattes. Charta. ISBN 978-8881587261. 
  5. ^ Quaranta, Domenico (2009). Eva and Franco Mattes. Charta. ISBN 978-8881587261. 
  6. ^ Quaranta, Domenico (2009). Eva and Franco Mattes. Charta. ISBN 978-8881587261. 
  7. ^ Video documentation of Nike Ground
  8. ^ Carroll / Fletcher Gallery, London
  9. ^ Keats, Jonathon (2013). Forged: Why Fakes are the Great Art of Our Age. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199928354. 
  10. ^ Fisher, Cora. "EVA AND FRANCO MATTES 0100101110101101.ORG Reality is Overrated". The Brooklyn Rail (JUNE 2010). 
  11. ^ Fisher, Cora. "EVA AND FRANCO MATTES AKA 0100101110101101.ORG Reality is Overrated". The Brooklyn Rail (June 2010). 
  12. ^ Ada Veen, The Death and Death of Darko Maver, Mute magazine, 10 June 2000
  13. ^ Interview transcript Archived April 30, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Marina Abramovic's Imponderabilia
  15. ^ Gilbert&George's The Singing Sculpture
  16. ^ Valie Export's Tapp und Tastkino
  17. ^ Vito Acconci's Seedbed
  18. ^ Chris Burden's Shoot

Further reading[edit]

  • Quaranta, Domenico, and others, Eva and Franco Mattes: 0100101110101101.ORG. Charta (2009).
  • Ippolito, Jon and Blais, Joline (2009). "New Media: Introduction". Innovators Shaping Our Creative Future. Thames & Hudson,
  • Ippolito, Jon and Blais, Joline (2005). "At the Edge of Art". Thames & Hudson.
  • Jana, Reena and Tribe, Mark (2006). New Media Art. Taschen.
  • Greene, Rachel (2004). Internet Art. Thames & Hudson.
  • Paul, Christiane (2003–2008). Digital Art. Thames & Hudson.

External links[edit]