Anybody who remembers the infamous Cozomo d’Medici/Snoop Dogg unveiling will know that Twitter reveals often leave more questions than answers. Even today, nobody is 100% sure whether Snoop is Cozomo. Now, an Italian artist has emerged claiming to be the legendary but ever-mysterious Pak, creator of Merge (which generated $91.8 million) and Censored (a single NFT from that collection raised $52.8 million).
Who is Murat Pak?
Previously known as Murat Pak, part of the artist's appeal is their enigmatic nature. Their tweets are cryptic, sometimes read like elaborate performance art and never reveal anything about their author's identity. Some have suggested that Pak is more than one person, others have dubbed them the Satoshi of crypto art. It looked like the mystery would never be solved, and then all of a sudden Italian artist Federico Clapis "revealed" himself as the mysterious creator.
Tweeting simply “I’m Pak” (an echo of Snoop Dogg’s "I am @CozomoMedici"), Clapis set social media ablaze. Pak retweeted the claim, accompanied by a hands-over-face-shocked emoji. Clapis floated the idea of a reveal the day before, simply tweeting “tomorrow I will reveal a new job I’ve been working on for months.” He isn’t the first person to "dox" themselves as Pak. Paris Hilton jokingly tweeted the same thing, which was also retweeted by Pak with the same covered face emoji.
The “reveal” received its fair share of scepticism but there are some striking similarities between Clapis and Pak. Clapis is famous in Italy as a conceptual artist who plays with different identities. He got into NFTs just after Pak and the two appear to follow a similar marketing strategy. Both reward their collectors and both are social media masters. Clapis’ website outlines how he spent years “producing viral videos” and “accumulating millions of followers.” Crucially, this was all done “undercover.”
Pak’s identity revealed?
Both share a similarly esoteric approach to art. Pak spoke of concealing their identity because of the relationship between persona and art: they want people to “recall the work rather than a face and body.” Clapis is similarly fascinated by the relationship between “the artist and the observer.” Pak’s work is abstract, as is that of Clapis. Clapis is fascinated by the “dissemination” and curation of his art. Pak created Architect, a digital curator.
The list goes on and on, but you can take a look at Clapis’ work and ethos here. It's hard to deny the similarities. None of this constitutes definitive proof, of course, and Clapis is known for his humour and satire. Is this just an example of his wit, a comment on the entangled nature of art and identity? Or can we finally put a name and face to Pak?