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Acid to destroy masterpieces by Picasso, Rembrandt and Warhol if Julian Assange dies in jail, artist claims | UK Information

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An artist has defended plans to destroy masterpieces by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt and Andy Warhol with acid if Julian Assange dies in jail.

Andrei Molodkin says he has gathered 16 artworks – which he estimates are collectively price greater than $45m (£42.77m) – in a 29-tonne secure with an “extraordinarily corrosive” substance.

Contained in the vault are containers containing the artwork and a pneumatic pump connecting two white barrels – one with acid powder and the opposite with an accelerator that would trigger a chemical response robust sufficient to show the secure’s contents to mess, Molodkin claims.

Julian Assange in 2017 – and the secure presupposed to comprise the artwork that shall be destroyed if he dies in jail. Pics: AP/The Foundry Studio

The venture – known as “{Dead} Man’s Change” – is being backed by Assange’s spouse Stella, whose husband is awaiting his last enchantment in opposition to being extradited to the US, the place he faces expenses below the Espionage Act.

The Wikileaks founder is needed in America over an alleged conspiracy to acquire and disclose nationwide defence data following the publication of a whole lot of hundreds of leaked paperwork referring to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The 52-year-old denies any wrongdoing.

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He has been held in London’s Belmarsh jail for nearly 5 years and can have his last enchantment heard on the Excessive Courtroom in London on February 20 and 21.

Assange’s supporters say he faces 175 years in jail if he’s extradited. His lawyer claims the Australian’s life “is in danger” if the enchantment fails.

Stella Assange, the wife of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Pic: PA
Stella Assange is supporting Andrei Molodkin’s ‘{Dead} Man’s Change’ venture. Pic: PA

Molodkin advised Sky Information: “In our catastrophic time – when we’ve so many wars – to destroy artwork is rather more taboo than to destroy the lifetime of an individual.

“Since Julian Assange has been in jail… freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of knowledge has began to be an increasing number of repressed. I’ve this sense very strongly now.”

The Russian dissident has refused to disclose which items of artwork are contained in the secure however says it consists of works by Picasso, Rembrandt, Warhol, Jasper Johns, Jannis Kounellis, Robert Rauschenberg, Sarah Lucas, Santiago Sierra, Jake Chapman, and Molodkin himself, amongst others.

The safe includes acid that can be triggered to destroy the artwork, Andrei Molodkin says. Pic: Andrei Molodkin/The Foundry Studio
The artworks are being contained in containers, the artist says. Pic: Andrei Molodkin/The Foundry Studio

“I consider if one thing occurred and we erased some masterpiece, it is going to be erased from historical past – no person will know which sort of piece it was,” he says.

“Now we have all of the documentation and we photographed all of them.”

The secure shall be locked on Friday and it’s being saved at Molodkin’s studio within the south of France, the artist says, however he plans for it to be moved to a museum.

Explaining how the “{Dead} Man’s Change” works, he says a 24-hour countdown timer have to be reset earlier than it reaches zero to forestall the corrosive materials from being launched.

Andrei Molodkin's sketches for the project. Pic: Andrei Molodkin/The Foundry Studio
Molodkin’s sketches for the {Dead} Man’s Change venture. Pic: Andrei Molodkin/The Foundry Studio

He says this shall be carried out by “somebody shut” to Assange confirming he’s nonetheless alive in jail every day – which is able to imply the timer may be reactivated.

If Assange is launched from jail, the artworks shall be returned to their homeowners, Molodkin provides.

He admits “many collectors are actually scared” in regards to the acid going off by accident however insists the work has been carried out “very professionally”.

Molodkin says he would really feel “no emotion” if the artwork was destroyed as a result of “freedom is rather more essential”.

Artist Andrei Molodkin
Artist Andrei Molodkin

Giampaolo Abbondio, who owns an artwork gallery in Milan, says he has offered the Picasso art work for the secure and has signed a non-disclosure settlement stopping him from revealing which one.

He stated his first response when he was requested to participate was: “No manner”, however he was satisfied by Molodkin, who he has identified since 2008.

“It received me spherical to the concept it is extra related for the world to have one Assange than an additional Picasso, so I made a decision to just accept,” Mr Abbondio advised Sky Information.

“For instance I am an optimist and I’ve lent it. If Assange goes free, I can have it again.

“Picasso can differ from 10,000 to 100 million however I do not assume it is the variety of zeros that makes it extra related once we’re speaking a few human life.”

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June 2022: Why is Assange wished by US?

Artist Franko B says he has offered one of many works which shall be saved within the secure.

“It is a phenomenal piece… it is one among my finest items,” he advised Sky Information.

“I believed it was essential that I dedicated one thing I care about. I did not donate one thing that I discovered within the nook of my studio. I donated a chunk of labor that could be very expensive to me that talks about freedom, censorship.

“It is essential. It is a small gesture in comparison with what Assange did and what he is going via.”

Who’s controversial artist Andrei Molodkin?

Andrei Molodkin made headlines final 12 months after promoting blood-soaked copies of Prince Harry’s memoir.

The artist had beforehand projected a sculpture full of the blood of Afghans on to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Each stunts had been in protest over Harry’s remarks in his e-book about his variety of kills in Afghanistan.

Beforehand, to coincide with the World Cup in Qatar, Molodkin unveiled a duplicate of the World Cup trophy that slowly full of crude oil. It had a symbolic value of $150m – a determine that matched the sum of money allegedly spent on bribes and kickbacks to FIFA officers.

Molodkin additionally introduced a sculpture of the White Home that reportedly contained the radioactive blood of Nagasaki-born males to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.

In 2022, Molodkin showcased a glass portrait of Vladimir Putin which was full of the blood of Ukrainian troopers. A picture of the art work was stated to have been live-streamed close to Moscow’s Crimson Sq. as Mr Putin oversaw Russia’s Victory Day parade.

Again in 2013, Molodkin opened an exhibition known as Catholic Blood that featured an set up the place he pumped blood donated solely by Catholics round his reproduction of the Rose Window at Westminster Abbey, which he noticed as a Protestant image.

Learn extra:
Fugitive or hero? Timeline of Assange’s legal battle
Vivienne Westwood’s family ‘disappointed’ Assange denied permission to attend funeral
Who are the US intelligence leakers?

Mrs Assange, who has two kids together with her husband, advised Sky Information: “Which is the larger taboo – destroying artwork or destroying human life?

“{Dead} Man’s Change is a murals. Julian’s political imprisonment is an act of actual terrorism in opposition to democracy.

“The true targets right here should not simply Julian Assange however the public’s proper to know, and the way forward for having the ability to maintain energy accountable.

“If democracy wins, the artwork shall be preserved – as will Julian’s life.”

Assange has been held at Belmarsh jail since his arrest in April 2019 after leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the place he had claimed political asylum in June 2012.

The UK authorities approved Assange’s extradition to the US in June 2022.

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