It's always six o'clock

Eva + Franco Mattes, a.k.a. 0100101110101101.org

It's about what happens if Philip K. Dick takes control of your mind, if time stands still, if ordinary things become mysterious and fantasy creatures overturn the order of your soul. Come and see works of ours being vandalized by other works of ours, a young girl peeping through a hole and Mickey Mouse going through ups and downs. I can't explain.

They call themselves restless European con artists. In art circles they are called the 'Bonnie and Clyde' of contemporary art. Born in Italy in 1976, Eva + Franco Mattes a.k.a. 0100101110101101.org have been besieging the art world with their clever hacks and elusive digital role-plays for more than ten years. Their current names, by the way, are pseudonyms as well: it's their way of taking a stand against the personality cult in art. Over and over again, the duo succeed in devising projects that subvert conventions, in art and far beyond. They hijacked the Vatican website, made everyone believe that the Karlsplatz in Vienna had been taken over by the swoosh, and baptised it Nikeplatz, and spread a computer virus at the Venice Biennale.

'It's always six o'clock', a work they have made especially for MU, is the next step in their artistic career. The work combines their recent plunge into the virtual identity factory Second Life with a surreal view on designer toys as well as 21st century sculpture. That they're excessively interested in Second Life, where no-one is what he/she really is, is beyond dispute. However, while everyone in Second Life creates avatars looking like eccentric or slick self-portraits, Eva + Franco's avatars are represented in an almost true-to-life manner. Subsequently, they mix the ancient rules of portraiture with Warhol's sexy Pop Art codes to form a cloyingly sweet and at the same time grating kind of 'second art'. Their avatars also re-enact notorious performances. Not because they like them so much, but to lay bare the differences between the real and the synthetic world of art.

In 'It's always six o'clock', the avatar portraits in their series 'Annoying Japanese Child Dinosaur' are attacked by an army of toys, not the digital representations but the real McCoy this time. From Manga characters to G.I. Joe, and from medieval knights to Winnie the Pooh, they're all performing in the theatre of pop culture. Cute yet ruthlessly aggressive at times, they're taking over the exhibition space. In the process, fantasy and collective imagination are fusing into a dramatically charged form of 21st ready-made sculpture.

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