Darko Maver was a reclusive, Serbian artist, who achieved cult status for his photographs of gruesome, life-size sculptures of murder victims. He was paid tribute to in the 48th Venice Biennale, before being exposed as a purely fictional character invented by Eva and Franco Mattes, who used photographs they found online, which depicted real atrocities, as documentation of Maver's sculptures.
Darko Maver was undoubtedly one of the most enigmatic figures of the art world in recent years. The rumors about Maver and his work began in 1998 within the circles of underground artists in Europe: an artist wandering in decaying Yugoslavia, living in motels and deserted buildings, creating crushed plastic dolls that remind us of abused tortured people. In Yugoslavia, Maver was accused of anti-patriotism, his work was censured and he was persecuted. Later on, copies of his works were shown in exhibitions around Europe.
In the beginning of 2000 "The Great Art Swindle" is revealed to the whole world. In a long press release the artist duo known as 0100101110101101.ORG claims the operation: «I declare I've invented the life and the works of the Serbian artist Darko Maver, born in Krupanj in 1962 and dead in the prison of Podgorica the 30th of April 1999».
As expected the story spreads all over the world and provokes a heated debate. The reactions are countless and contradictory.