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Andrei Molodkin vows to dissolve Picasso and Rembrandt’s Dead Man’s Switch masterpieces in acid in a 29-ton safe if the WikiLeaks founder dies in prison

By Elena Salvoni 12:49 February 13, 2024, updated 16:32 February 13, 2024

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  • Andrei Molodkin claims that 16 works of art will only be returned if Assange is released

A Russian artist has vowed to destroy masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt and Andy Warhol with acid if Julian Assange dies in prison.

Andrei Molodkin claims to have collected 16 works of art, which he estimates to be worth a total of $45 million, and is now threatening to destroy them if his demands are not met.

The artworks, he claims, will be stored in a 29-tonne safe containing an “extremely corrosive” substance and will only be returned to their owners if Assange is released from prison.

The WikiLeaks founder is awaiting the results of his final appeal against extradition to the US, where he faces espionage charges and up to 175 years in prison.

The controversial artist supporting his release claims his safe will be locked on Friday and its contents will be completely dissolved unless a “Dead Man’s Switch” timer is reset daily.

The 24-hour countdown timer will only be reset, he says, if “someone close to Assange” confirms every day that he is still alive.

He claims the artworks are stored in a 29-tonne safe containing an “extremely corrosive” substance. Andrei Molodkin claims to have collected 16 works of art, which he estimates to be worth $45 million, and is now threatening to destroy them. WikiLeaks founder Assange is awaiting the results of his final appeal against extradition to the US, where he faces espionage charges and up to 175 years in prison

Assange’s supporters fear his health is failing and his lawyer says his “life would be in danger” if he were extradited.

“In our catastrophic times – when we have so many wars – destroying art is far more taboo than destroying a person’s life,” Molodkin told Sky News.

“Since Julian Assange has been in prison, freedom of speech, expression and information has been increasingly suppressed. I have that feeling very strongly now.’

Molodkin already made headlines after he doused copies of Prince Harry’s memoir Spare with “blood” in protest at his revelation that he had killed the fighters while serving in Afghanistan.

The sculptor is a former Soviet Army soldier, anti-war activist and Russian dissident who now lives in southern France.

He previously made a giant portrait of Vladimir Putin using blood donations from Ukrainian soldiers and says he cannot return to Russia because he fears being jailed by Putin’s regime for his work.

He claims his latest stunt came about with the help of artists and donors who provided him with art to support Assange.

Inside the prison, two white barrels are pictured next to boxes said to contain works of art. Assange’s wife Stella supports the Dead Man’s Switch project, which she described as a “work of art” (file image).

He has declined to identify the exact works in the safe, but says it contains some of his own works as well as artwork by Picasso, Rembrandt, Warhol, Jasper Johns, Jannis Kounellis, Robert Rauschenberg, Sarah Lucas and others.

A Milan gallery owner claims he provided a Picasso piece for the safe and signed a non-disclosure agreement to reveal what the work was.

Giampaolo Abbondio, who has known Molodkin for years, said he initially said he would “absolutely not” offer the work but was later convinced.

“It made me think that having an Assange is more relevant to the world than an additional Picasso, so I decided to accept,” he told Sky.

Molodkin is supposed to keep the safe in his studio in the south of France before taking it to a museum.

The sculptor is a former Soviet Army soldier and Russian dissident who now lives in the south of France. Afghan and Iraqi people donated blood for an artwork by Molodkin titled “Royal Blood.” The sculpture was projected onto St Paul’s Cathedral to protest Prince Harry’s role in the Afghan War. Previously, Molodkin created a huge portrait of Vladimir Putin using blood from Ukrainian soldiers

Inside the prison, two white barrels are pictured next to boxes that supposedly contain the artwork.

READ MORE: What did Julian Assange do? From the founding of WikiLeaks to the threat of extradition

One of the barrels, Molodkin claims, contained acid powder, while the other contained an accelerator that could trigger a chemical reaction that would completely decimate the work.

Assange’s wife Stella supports the Dead Man’s Switch project, which she described as “a work of art.”

“Julian’s political imprisonment is a real act of terror against democracy.”

“The real targets here are not just Julian Assange, but the public’s right to know and the future of holding power to account.”

“If democracy wins, art will be preserved – and Julian’s life too.”

The WikiLeaks founder has been held at HMP Belmarsh maximum security prison in southeast London since April 2019 after he was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian embassy following the revocation of his seven-year diplomatic asylum.

A public hearing is scheduled to take place on February 20th and 21st, which is seen as Assange’s last chance to prevent his extradition.

Source: www.dailymail.co.uk

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Amanda Walker

Global events enthusiast. Reporting with a critical lens to offer readers a deeper perspective.

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