Russian artist took Picasso hostage because of Assange

Russian artist took Picasso hostage because of Assange



Andrei Molodkin intends to destroy the works of Rembrandt and Warhol in the event of the death of the founder of WikiLeaks

A bad example is contagious. It seems that having seen enough of the actions of eco-vandals who every week pour soup on masterpieces in different museums around the world, the artist Andrei Molodkin also decided to encroach on great art, but not for the sake of the environment, but in order, as he claims, to save the life of Julian Assange. A native of the Kostroma region, now living in France, said that he has 16 works hostage, including works by Rembrandt, Picasso and Warhol - they are locked in a Swiss safe with thick walls. And he will destroy them live if the founder of WikiLeaks is extradited to the United States. On February 20 and 21, Assange has his last chance to appeal: if it is not satisfied, he will be sent to America, where he is sentenced to 175 years in prison.

A story on the verge of a foul - Andrei Molodkin loves these. Three years ago, for example, he distinguished himself with the installation “The White House Drenched in American Blood,” for which he used real blood from 18 donors. The image of the bloodied residence of the American president was broadcast on Washington's Source Theater and then appeared on the skyscraper known as Trump Tower. Thus, the artist questioned the integrity of the American political system: “The White House is a symbol of Western democracy, and here we see it as it is.” The artist has used donor blood before. But no one was hurt here. This time he is going to turn the works of great masters into dust. At least that's what he claims.

In the south of France, in the city of Mobourg, the artist installed a Swiss safe with thick walls in the basement of a hotel, where he placed a system with reagents. When he remotely presses the button (in the event of Assange's extradition), the contents of the two barrels will spill, mix, and everything contained in the bunker will turn into dust. And there, according to the author’s statement, there are now 16 paintings that were donated to the Russian artist by collectors who also consider Assange a “prisoner of conscience.” Molodkin assures that by the day of the trial the safe will be replenished with other works by classics. However, the artist only showed the impressive safe itself to the journalist who visited the site. Whether it’s true that there are originals inside is another question.

The next question is to what extent does Andrei Molodkin sincerely defend Julian Assange or does he simply want to make PR out of a scandalous political story, as he has done many times before? The works of the 57-year-old author are kept in some museums, but he really managed to shine only at the exhibition “Victory over the Sun”, which took place in the Russian Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale. But it was a group project, where there were stronger authors. Molodkin is used to taking things with hype; the artistic quality in his politicized statements is not enough for great art. What’s also curious: Molodkin did the action with the bloodied White House remotely, without taking any risks. And now he speaks out about Britain and the USA, sitting in the south of France. Comfortable. In a word, not a protest, but a circus with horses, and that’s all.



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