The Danish-Chilean artist Marco Evaristti was arrested in Iceland after local landowners accused him of vandalism after dyeing the Strokkur geyser pink, it has been reported. The artist poured red fruit-based food colouring into the famous hot springs, located 70 miles northeast of Reykjavik, resulting in the geyser erupting in plumes of bright pink water and steam.
Garðar Eiríksson, speaking on behalf of the local landowners said “This is not art. I am deeply sorry that a visitor to our country comes up with such an idea. I have very few words to describe my disgust at these actions.”
But the artist has defended his actions stating that “Nature belongs to no one,” Evaristti insisted. “I do what I do because I’m a painter, a landscape painter who doesn’t use a canvas, I paint directly on nature.”
He continued “I believe in freedom of speech and I believe nature doesn’t belong to certain people, but to everyone,” he argued, adding, “I love mother nature. If I love a woman I give her a diamond ring. That’s why I decorate nature, because I love it.”
But the Icelandic authorities did not agree with the artist’s decision or perspective on his interaction with nature, as Evaristti’s expressive water-based intervention landed the Copenhagen-based artist behind bars for two weeks. This is nit the first time that the the artist has dyed natural waters, having performed a similar installation at a frozen waterfall in Norway last year.
Iceland cut its arts funding in half last year, which caused widespread condemnation from the small country’s artistic community. Strokkur was first mentioned in 1789, after an earthquake unblocked the conduit of the geyser.