ARTS & CULTURE

Dear Artists: Putting Food Coloring In A Beloved Natural Geyser Is A Crime

05/06/2015 04:54 pm ET
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We've said it before and we'll say it again -- but hopefully, not too many more times -- artists: please don't make Mother Nature your canvas. Just don't do it.

Let Chilean, Copenhagen-based artist Marco Evaristti be a lesson for you. For his 2015 installation entitled "The Rauður Thermal Project," Evaristti introduced five liters of red fruit dye into Iceland's beloved Strokkur Geysir, without permission. When the burbling hot springs began to boil, steam and liquid the color of cotton candy erupted into the sky.

"The beauty of the Nature keeps overwhelming me," Evaristti explains in a statement online. "When I decorate the Nature -- when I make landscape paintings in and on the landscape -- I can't think of a more beautiful motive and canvas in one."

A photo posted by 🙌🏼 (@engstrom_elin) on

Not too surprisingly, some people were outraged by Evaristti's stunt. "This is not art, it's vandalism," Garðar Eiríks­son, the spokesper­son for the landowners of the geyser territory, told an online Icelandic newspaper. He continued: "If he had asked permission we would have told him that it's illegal and that we would never agree to this kind of art performance. This man is incredibly arrogant and his actions and words reveal his ignorance."

Evaristti had a unique method of reasoning behind his unauthorized artistic technique: "I do not ask for permission because nature belongs to no one." Unfortunately, laws aimed at protecting Iceland's delicate landscape were not on his side. The artist has since been sentenced to 15 days in jail. Additionally, Eiríks­son hopes for an apology.

While the results of Evaristti's act are pretty, altering natural landscapes in any way should be done with caution. As Eiríks­son further explained, the residue from the food coloring has not radically altered the geyser itself, but it has spread to the ground surrounding Strokkur. The nearby ice and water could retain the red color for an extended period of time.

This isn't the first time Evaristti has given Mother Nature a makeover with his artwork. He called this current project "The 5th Pink State," as it's the fifth time the artist has accomplished such a feat. His previous works include "The Ice Cube Project" (2004), "The Mont Rouge Project" (2007), "The Arido Rosso Project" (2008) and "The Red Crack Project" (2013).

"I love Mother Na­ture," the artist has said. "If I love a woman I give her a diamond ring. That's why I decorate na­ture, be­cause I love it." We highly recommend Evaristti rethink the way he approaches both natural wonders (and women) in the future.

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