Tuesday, 5 June 2007

The arrest

Today turned out rather dramatically as I got arrested by the French police on the Mont Blanc massif. But I should probably turn back time and start today´s blog yesterday. My crew had arrived, and while they were having their first training day, I went off to spent some time on my own in the mountains. Inspired by the practical complications that arise in the mountains when you have to go, I carved a toilet in the snow. In order for people to be able more easily to find it, I painted it red using biodegradable fruit colour. The same type I used for my Ice Cube Project in Greenland.

In the evening I joined the team in a hut in the mountains, passing a cosy evening and a freezing cold night before getting up at 5.30 and heading from the hut in Torino just across the Italien border back to France to Aiguillle du Midi. This is a beautiful route crossing the Vallé Blanche. We went along as the sun rose over the mountain tops and enjoyed the quietness of the magnificent nature, the silence only being interrupted once in a while by the dramatic sound of avalanches and falling rocks. Suddenly another, more mechanical, noise appeared. It was the sound of a helicopter that seemed to be cruising around the area were I had passed the day yesterday. The sound came closer and the helicopter passed us close by, finally landing right next to us. Out came two policemen asking for me and as I stepped forward they told me they had come to detain me for questioning about me painting on the Mont Blanc.

In the helicopter I was very nervous. As I have had no encounters with the French police before and as they were speaking to eachother in French and on the radio, I felt very uncomfortable. Kent, from the team, had been allowed to come along (as my guardian angel or was it because he had quite a difficult time on the snowy and steep mountain slopes? We will never know. Anyway, I was very happy to have him beside me in the helicopter, confessing to him that I was terrifyed of the rumours of what goes on late at night in prisons where a lot of men hunger for women....!)

Safely on the ground Kent had to stay outside as the police took me in custody. Once in the station, talking to the police officer I calmed down as he was actually quite a friendly guy. We talked about my piece of art. He told me that the Mont Blanc massif is a protected area and that I wasn´t allowed to paint it. I told of course how the material I had used was biodegradable which I have a biological report that manifests. After taking my deposition they let me off the hook, telling me ”We are watching you, mr. Evaristti”. But they didn´t tell me not to go on with my art project on the summit of Mont Blanc, as I never, really, intended to paint the top. I have worked with all kind of materials as I like to work in whatever material suits the situation and the concept of my work. Paint is only one mean out of so many. When I get to Mont Blanc I will be gentle with it, tug it in like a precious loved one and declare the proud state of Pink State on this particurlar spot - the roof of Europe.

1 comment:

hvlukas said...

All sympathies from me!

I hope you'll get to do your expedition, maybe not now, but later.