'Artist' Vandalises Scafell Pike
We're a little bemused at the news that an Ecuadorian artist, Oscar Santillan, appears to have vandalised the summit of Scafell Pike in the name of 'art' by removing the top inch of the highest point of the mountain for an 'installation' called 'The Intruder' and doubly astonished that his actions are effectively endorsed by a London art gallery which is showcasing his 'work'.
You can see images from the Copperfield Gallery's website on the left which accompany the following text:
'‘The Intruder’ presents an inch of stone removed from the English landscape. At a glance it is seemingly insignificant and yet the material is carefully presented. Scaling the 3028ft of Scafell Pike in the Lake District, the artist has stolen the uppermost inch of the highest mountain in England. An entire nation’s height is modified and its landscape redefined by means of a single careful action.'
The irony of course, is that the artist's action of removing an inch or the summit redefines nothing whatsoever, unless you genuinely think a notional change of mountain height has some real significance, but what he has, perhaps unwittingly done is highlighted the regard we have for our landscapes with an act of symbolic vandalism.
And that's if you believe that he really did remove the topmost inch of Scafell Pike rather than just picking up a piece of random rock, as you might do, say, at Everest Base Camp.
That said, we're distinctly unimpressed that a British gallery is promoting a brazen act of vandalism and that the summit of the mountain has been deliberately damaged, no matter how minor that damage might be.
Not because we believe that the removal of a small chip of stone genuinely 'redefines a nation's landscape' in any meaningful sense, but because it is completely at odds with the principles of mountain conservation.
If the artist and the gallery have any integrity or sense of decency, they should be making a big, fat donation to Fix The Fells to apologise for a frankly unacceptable act.