Marco Evaristti is pushing frontiers and focuses on the construction of extreme images and experiences. Through their focus on topics such as violence, environmental destruction, possessive demands, and the judgement about life and death, his artworks question political claims.
In 2004 he used red colour to paint the tip of an iceberg in Kangia Fjord, close to Ilullisant, Greenland. (This space is officially part of Danish territory and has an autonomous status). He used two icebreakers, a crew of 20 people, and three fire hoses to paint the iceberg in blood red and subsequently declared it as his possession.
In the Mount Rouge Project, June 2007, he covered the peak of Mont Everest with red cloth and added a flag declaring “Pink State”. This intervention was followed by a heated debate in media and politics. He was even imprisoned when he tried to paint the peak in red. According to the artist’s statements he aimed to allude to environmental destruction. In the third part of this trilogy he coloured sand dunes in the Saharan dessert.
At the first glance the red colour reminds of blood, it evokes the association of a massacre. Taking in to account connotations of the arctic sea and its iceberg, whaling comes into focus. Another notion could be the homicide of inhabitants, following the hostile annexation of territory – in a historical view, when whole peoples were eliminated, as well as in present-day violent conflicts.
For the interpretation of Evaristti’s oeuvre it is important not to see the artist as a “well-doer” and not to read his works in terms of moral and overly empathic aesthetics. The interventions draw their immediate power from their metaphoric imagery. The marking of territory has an aggressive notion, the artist relishes in his taking possession of a piece of land – he himself becomes an aggressor.
This artistic strategy already showed itself in the project “Helena” in which the artist put ten goldfish in a kitchen blender – the audience could decide about their fate. The outrage that was caused by this installation stands in harsh contrast to the fact that all kinds of animals are killed and eaten without anybody raising protest. Evaristti shows how certain processes are accepted by society without dispute: It is the artistic intervention, which raises people’s awareness towards the problem. However the aggressive reactions gear themselves not against the institutions, which perform these actions on a regular basis, but against the artist.