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Eva & Franco Mattes at FMAV Fondazione Modena Arti Visive

September 16, 2022–February 26, 2023

Eva and Franco Mattes have been closely monitoring the Internet and its real-world entanglements since the 1990s, creating a fascinating body of work that ranges from sculpture to virtual reality. The two present their first Italian solo exhibition at FMAV Fondazione Modena Arti Visive in an overdue homecoming. A mystery method was used to select a variety of works from their most recent body of work for Most to Least Viewed. Nadim Samman is the curator of the exhibition.

Processes that go on behind the scenes shape internet culture. The likes and views attention economy indicator hides our estrangement from the platform’s internal workings and its IRL entanglements: User experience design suggests a streamlined relationship with the system by creating a liminal space where power, fantasy, and reality all coexist. A constant flow of content also stifles context, including the circumstances around image creation, variables affecting how visible these images are, networks of circulation, and more. The film Most to Least Viewed explores this issue by focusing on the relationship between what is displayed and what is kept hidden.

The exhibition’s material, which is organized in order from “most to least watched,” reflects the popularity of the artists’ work on social media and the web over the past 12 months. What has been successful is obvious, but the reason why is shrouded in mystery. Why was a piece in the first place even able to be loved or viewed? The artists make reference to the role of extraterrestrial curatorial forces at work in the larger context of our lives by highlighting how impossible it is to provide an answer to this issue while exhibiting the outcomes of a mysterious technical process.

The artwork in Eva & Franco Mattes: Most to Least Viewed expresses the artist’s long-standing interest in levels of informational opacity and the peculiar landscape of online culture in addition to the selection criteria for the exhibition. Eva & Franco Mattes examine social media censoring practices, distortions of “natural” living brought on by digital instruments, privileged access to secure domains, and the increasingly intolerable desire to disconnect in the featured works to illuminate the political inner of surface effects. The duo pays particular attention to the idea that perhaps the absurdity of Internet culture is a ‘feature’ rather than a flaw. Things are never as they seem in the pair’s art, which serves as a mirror to the information age.

Eva & Franco Mattes are an Italian artist duo based in New York City. They make work that responds to and dissects our contemporary networked condition, always approaching the ethics and politics of life online with a hint of dark humor. Group exhibitions include KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Sharjah Art Foundation (United Arab Emirates); SFMOMA, San Francisco; Athens Biennale; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Mannheim (Germany); Biennale of Sydney; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Minneapolis Institute of Arts (US); Sundance Film Festival, Salt Lake City; MoMA PS1 and Performa in New York City; National Art Museum of China, Beijing; The New Museum, New York City and Manifesta 4, Frankfurt (Germany). Survey exhibitions of their work have been held at Fondation PHI, Montreal (Canada), and at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich 2021. Past solo exhibition venues include Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden (Germany); Team Gallery, Los Angeles; Essex Flowers and Postmasters Gallery, New York City; Carroll/Fletcher Gallery, London; and Site Gallery, Sheffield. Their works can be found in the collections of the SFMOMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, Fotomuseum Winterthur (Switzerland), X Museum, and the Walker Art Center (US).

Nadim Samman is Curator for the Digital Sphere at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin.

FMAV Fondazione Modena Arti Visive
Palazzo Santa Margherita
Corso Canalgrande 103

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