For Riccardo Uncut, artists Eva and Franco Mattes posted a call on social media, offering to buy someone's phone for $1,000 in order to turn the photo and video contents into an art project—an uncut and uncensored portrait of someone's life. Accessible to the public as a customized, chronological slideshow, Riccardo Uncut gives viewers a unique glimpse into the personal life of Riccardo, the chosen applicant. The archive consists of approximately 3,000 images taken between 2004–2017 that include documentation of travels and vacations, friends and family, partners and sexual desire, daily life at home, office dynamics, food, art, architecture, and artistic endeavors. The accompanying song, which also appears as background music in one of Riccardo's videos, is part of the soundtrack of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1982 film Querelle, an adaptation of Jean Genet's 1947 novel Querelle de Brest.
The project was inspired by the questions, “How do we construct our digital memory?” and “Is there still such a thing as a ‘private photo?’” Social media create a perfect arena for re-creating the self as a lifestyle brand, performing a daily me, an idealized version of ourselves. With Riccardo Uncut the Mattes investigate where one might find authenticity in self-representation and an unedited version of the self. The phone owner's willingness to sell the raw documentation of their personal life also astutely mirrors social media platforms’ terms of service, in which users assume all liability for the content of posted images. Riccardo Uncut continues the explorations of privacy, transparency, voyeurism and exhibitionism that the Mattes pursued in their projects Life Sharing (2000–2003) and The Others (2011).
Eva and Franco Mattes (b. 1976, Italy) live and work in New York. Their work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; the 20th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; Electronic Superhighway and Artists’ Film International, Whitechapel Gallery, London, England; Big Bang Data, Somerset House, London, England; Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium; Performa, New York, USA; MoMA PS1, New York, USA; New Museum, New York, USA; NTT ICC Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Manifesta, Frankfurt, Germany; and the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy.