Darko Maver was an artistic hoax created by 0100101110101101.ORG.

According to the hoaxers, Maver was born in Krupanj, in 1962. Maver's supposed body of work was pvc sculptures of aborted fetuses, corpses, rapes and other assorted acts of violence, which he then photographed and presented in various galleries across Europe. In fact, these morbid simulacra were photographs of the real thing, mostly taken from newswire services, then passed off to the unsuspecting art world.

His work "began" with challenging images of violence from Yugoslavia's civil war, backdated to make it appear that he had created the images in the late 1980s. It is unswervingly challenging and grotesque, but with the images assumed to be authored instead of merely culled from the internet, Maver began to make a name for "himself" in Eastern European galleries.

His mid-period work is presented as poetry, and this is where it becomes clear in hindsight that Maver was a hoax. His hackneyed takes on being "condemned to live" are such rank and trite nihilistic expressions that it's hard to believe people continued to take him seriously.

Maver's final work came as Tanzen Der Spinne, or "Dance of the Spider." For this, Maver once again pretended that the images were of pvc dummies, made up to look like assorted gore, and arranged with a speculative narrative "web" that was referenced in the title.

This work was actually more photos taken from the then-raging conflict in Yugoslavia, but was aesthetically connected to the lurid photos of Weegee (who started the public's fascination with crime scene photography) and Joel-Peter Witkin's grotesque use of human corpses. There is also an implicit relationship between this work and what Susan Sontag would call the "aesthetics of photojournalism" with relation to the numbing affect of aesthetics when faced with horrors.
The work was an unqualified success, with Tanzen Der Spinne being featured in galleries from Ljubljana to Bologna.

However, it's in this context of growing success that the hoaxters pulled off their masterstroke. Darko Maver's work began to "disappear," the originals were claimed to be destroyed, and the ellusive "artist" went into hiding to avoid the authorities, who viewed his work as subversive.

By negating his work and placing the blame on state officials, who (of course) denied any knowledge of Maver, Maver became an underground celebrity.

It was claimed that Maver was arrested and held by the authorities, and soon afterwards two photographs were released of him, one showing him imprisoned and the other showing him dead. Kosovar authorities were blamed, and the myth of Darko began in earnest, with several artists paying tribute to him and his "groundbreaking work." The exposure culminated with a "retrospective" at the Venice Biannual exhibition for new works, a respected stop on the international gallery circuit. Like the cliche goes, Maver had to "die" to be respected.

Of course, the troubling thing is that Maver never really existed. He was a made-up man, putting out made-up work. What does this say about authenticity in art?

Soon after Darko's appearance at the Biannual, 0100101110101101.ORG (which had been Darko's primary press organ) admitted that he had been a hoax, used to show the "permeability of the art world."

For further information, see Luther Blissett.net or 0100101110101101.ORG

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.