Miltos Manetas  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Miltos Manetas (1964-) is a Greek-born painter and multimedia artist who currently lives and works in North London.

He is known for his paintings of computer hardware, Internet websites (two of his Internet Paintings have been recently acquired by Charles Saatchi) and other elements of contemporary life. He is also the starter of the Neen Art Movement which is a kind of new Dada, an international movement for the digital age.


Manetas was born in Athens in 1964 and moved to Milan Italy when he was 20 years old. He started his career as an artist of academic contemporary art and exhibited these early works broadly together with his pears from different countries including Maurizio Catellan, Tracy Emin, Douglas Gordon and Jason Roades. In 1995, Manetas participated in the historical exhibition 'TRAFFIC" at the CAPC in Bordeaux, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud and he was included in the list of artists that were making-according to Mr. Bourriaud- "Relational Aesthetics". But in exactly that point, Manetas decide to change his approach to Art and abandon performances, objects and site specific installations. He start painting instead and also examining the possibilities of creating Art by using video games.

In 1996; Manetas moved to New York together with girlfriend artist Vanessa Beecroft (who credits in different interviews Manetas as her major influence at the time, in fact she made her student thesis on him). The two start living in Williamsburg Brooklyn sharing a house with the visionary architect Andreas Angelidakis. Manetas took working heavily with video games, using Lara Croft and SuperMario as Ready Mady Characters for his artworks. On SuperMario Sleeping, a video of 1998, SuperMario just sleeps and in his video Flames, 1997, Lara Croft is dying endlessly under some poisoned darts. Both works were exhibited at the London ICA in 1998 in the exhibition Made in Italy and in that occasion, London's THE GUARDIAN wrote a large article on Manetas calling him the El Greco of the Geeks.

The following years, Manetas had many exhibitions all over the World and he was preparing an important middle-carrier museum show when he found himself annoyed from the fact that everything had sadly become too professional for him. He interrupted the production of the show, ceased collaboration with the Postmasters Gallery in NY that was representing him, stopped a catalogue that would collect his work up to that point and commissioned to a California Branding Agency a new term that could bring a radical change to his work but also to the works of others.

In Spring 2000, Manetas finally presented the new name (Neen) to an exhibition-performance held at the Gagosian Gallery in New York. After the presentation, he moved to Los Angeles where he started an enterprise called The Electronic Orphanage. He would hire young people with experience of contemporary art and/or design and he would ask them to abandon what they were doing and test very different ideas, exclusively build on the possibilities that the Internet is offering.

Today Manetas lives in London and is putting all this experience together under a new term, the "Existential Computing". In 2007, The Hayward Gallery commissioned to Manetas a workshop on the idea of the Existential Computing. That was also the opportunity that Manetas met impresario Malcolm McLaren. The two become friends and they even participated together in a pivotal show that artist Stephan Bruggemann curated at the I-20 gallery in NY in Sept 07. Manetas' work was a piece that was commissioned previously to him from the Baltic Art Center in Newcastle but in the "Dazed&Confussed versus Andy Warhol " show. The piece was just a website, its URL simply written on the walls of the gallery:

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Miltos Manetas" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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