SANTIAGO Last year, Chilean-born artist Marco
Evaristti mixed fat removed from his body by liposuction with
ground beef to make meatballs, which he fried in olive oil and
displayed in a public gallery.
This year, he plans to climb Western Europe's highest
mountain, Mont Blanc on the French-Italian border, colour the
summit pink and declare it an independent state, with himself
His work has been slammed as disgusting, publicity-seeking
and immoral but Evaristti says he is simply trying to highlight
some of the double standards he sees in the world around him.
"What I'm trying to do with these works is to give society
a jolt and make it ask questions," the 44-year-old said in a
telephone interview from Denmark, where he lives with his wife
"And it can answer those questions, and in that way maybe
we can be a little better as human beings."
Evaristti's meatballs piece consists of 13 tins of the meat
on a long table, in an echo of Christ's last supper.
He says the work is about the sanctity of the body and an
unhealthy modern obsession with food and weight loss.
"Firstly, I want to show people that meatballs made with my
fat are no more disgusting than the meatballs you buy in the
supermarket," he said.
"Secondly, it's a dialogue with a modern society that lives
to eat, rather than eating to live as it should be.
"You eat, and when you're fat, you go to a clinic, have an
operation, have your fat removed and you start to eat again."
When he displayed the piece in Chile, Evaristti invited 12
people to join him in eating the meatballs in a last supper.
How did they taste? "Even better than my grandmother's," he
In perhaps his most infamous work, Evaristti filled food
blenders with water, dropped live goldfish into them and
plugged them into the electricity mains in an art gallery.
He gave the public the option of making their own fish soup
by simply flicking a switch.
He also painted an iceberg in Greenland red and placed an
embalmed human corpse in the front seat of a Ferrari, all in
the name of art and introspection.
Evaristti is not alone in provoking shock and disgust by
using humans and animals, dead and alive, in his work.
German anatomist Gunther von Hagens triggered outcry around
the world some years ago with his "Body Worlds" displays of
preserved human bodies, cut open to reveal their inner
structure, and British artist Damien Hirst gained notoriety for
pickling a dead sheep and a shark in formaldehyde.
But even in a world inured to the impact of such work,
Evaristti's pieces have prompted fury and retaliation.
In Austria last year, animal rights activists broke into a
gallery where his work was displayed, liberated his goldfish
and smashed his blenders. They are trying to put Evaristti on
trial for animal abuse.
Evaristti has had death threats and galleries displaying
his work have twice been subjected to bomb threats.
When he painted the iceberg in 2004, Evaristti says he was
highlighting the fragility of the natural world. The iceberg
melted, dissolving his work into the North Atlantic.
That was the first part of a trilogy, the second part of
which Evaristti plans to unveil on Mont Blanc in June.
Undeterred by warnings from French authorities, he wants to
colour the top of the mountain pink (although he refuses to say
how) and declare it an independent state.
"They haven't given me permission, they say I'm mad," he
The third part of the trilogy will be staged either in the
Sahara or Chile's Atacama Desert later this year.
Born a Jew in predominantly Catholic Chile, Evaristti spent
much of his early life in Israel before moving to Britain and
finally Denmark, where he has spent the past 24 years.
He converted to Buddhism in 1994 and says he tries, not
always successfully, to practice his faith.