- Artist: Marco Evaristti
- Title: Helena
- Media: Moulinex Optiblend 2000 electric blenders, live goldfish, and water
- Dimensions: ten blenders set up on a small table
- Date: 2000
Marco Evaristti was born in Chile in 1963, but has lived in Denmark since the 1980’s. He holds a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts where he was a student of the Danish architect Henning Larsen. His architecture highlights influences from Scandinavian, Asian, and Latin American approaches, and his art often uses materials taken from nature. In the search of creating a psychological reaction within the viewer, the materials Evaristti has used in his artwork have included diamonds and gold, and even blood and sperm (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marco_Evaristti).In his work, Evaristti seeks to challenge people with the realities or taboos around them. He forces them to confront the aspects of their lives, and the world around them, from which they would typically avert their eyes. Thus, he creates both a psychological, as well as a visceral, response. In this way, Evaristti aspires to his goal of challenging the viewer to take a stand on serious issues concerning humanity (evaristti.com).In his exhibition, “Helena” (displayed at the Danish museum ‘Trapholt’ in 2000, ten shite Moulinex Optiblend 2000 mixers were set up on a simple table. The mixers were visibly plugged in, thereby challenging the viewer to make the choice of life or death for the goldfish trapped inside the blender. After one patron of the exhibit did indeed push the button to power up one of the blenders, the curator of the exhibit, Peter Meyer, was charged with animal cruelty, and sentenced to a fine of 2,000 Danish Crowns. The judge in the challenged the notions of animal cruelty by ruling that death experienced by the goldfish (which took a maximum of one second) could not be called cruel or inhuman, and subsequently acquitted Meyer, prompting the spectacular headline “Liquidizing Goldfish not a Crime” (artelectronicmedia.com/artwork/helena-by-marco-evaristti).Helena was not about displaying blenders or goldfish. It was about questioning and challenging ourselves and the society around us. In his display, Evaristti challenged his viewers to make a life or death decision; and in a way, he turned his viewers into their own type of fish in blenders by placing them under the scrutiny of the media as they made their decision. Evaristti made a statement about life in general, as well. By placing the life of the goldfish on a precipice, he challenged us all to see that we live everyday of our lives on a similar precipice, that at any moment the power button on our own blenders could be switched on and each and every one of us will have the chance to find out how humane our death will be. By challenging our concepts of both art, and our places in the world, Evaristti has clearly demonstrated his place as a Challenger of Art.