by Ferdinand on April 14, 2009
Andrei Molodkin’s latest project is generating extensive media coverage, with newspapers such as The Independent, the Evening Standard, Financial Times and The Times reporting on Molodkin’s intention of continuing to use the notion of crude oil to symbolise the cycle of life and death. The artist has developed a technique for converting human bodies into crude oil that can then be used for sculptures.
Till death do us sculpt: Russian to render human bodies into art materials
Fancy a long-lasting keepsake of your loved one? What better than a statue made from the resin of their mortal remains?
It gives a grim new meaning to the term body art. A leading contemporary Russian artist says he has perfected a technique to boil human corpses into crude oil from which he will create permanent sculptures, and he has already signed up willing volunteers. [...]
Andrei Molodkin: black gold, blood red
Molodkin’s obsession with oil began when he ate it on bread as a recreational drug. Now he wants to make it from human corpses [...]
For Molodkin, oil, ink and blood are all the same. Ink is the blood of a pen. Oil is the blood of Russia. Blood will one day be oil, which may be made into ink. Boiling down corpses into oil, he reckons, is just speeding up the process. “People say I should not show,” he says apologetically, calling up his custom-made furnace thing on his computer. “They say it is like a meat-shop. But it is a simple idea. From all organic things you can make vodka or spirit. It is just a measure of time and some chemical things.” In the pictures there is a small amount of oil under a huge tank. Molodkin says that you should get 2.5 litres from a person, but this was his trial run, and there was an accident – the machine was opened too early and the transformation was not complete. “Still liquid,” he adds, reassuringly. Who was inside? “Just the dogs and cats I find on the road. I wanted to ask the zoo, for maybe they had an elephant.” So far, he has a whole range of volunteers, from a French porn star to a BBC journalist. He’s planning to write to lots of international figures and, when he dies, plans to be made into oil himself. “Maybe I can be enough energy to drive a short way in a Porsche,” he laughs. “Or 50km in a Japanese car. Or an economical light.” [...]
Andrei Molodkin wants your body
Andrei Molodkin is telling me about his sensational plan to boil down human bodies into oil for his sculptures. He imagines they will make a “yellowish sweet crude”. Not only this, in June he represents Russia at the Venice Biennale with a sculpture filled with human blood which he intends to buy on the black market. He also thinks it would be “really cool” to make a sculpture from the remains of a suicide bomber. And I arrived at our meeting thinking that art no longer had the power to shock. [...]
The man with oil in his veins
It is easy, in an age of hyper-commercialism and polished public relations, to believe that art has lost its bohemian edge completely. How many of today’s artists are inspired, not by an innermost compulsion to express themselves, but by the common desire, shared by more prosaic professions, to make a decent living? Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst are consummate PR men, as deft in the arts of marketing as in those of pure creation, and almost unfeasibly rich. But every so often, the spirit of the artist as radical outsider can still make itself felt. I travelled to Paris last week to visit the studio of Andrei Molodkin, a 43-year-old Russian who is shortly to feature in an exhibition in a new London gallery, Orel Art, and who will represent his country in the forthcoming Venice Biennale. [...]