A Russian artist has vowed to use acid to destroy masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt and Andy Warhol if Julian Assange dies in prison.
Andrei Molodkin claims to have collected 16 works of art whose value he estimates at $45 million and is now threatening to destroy them if his demands are not met.
The works of art, he claims, are 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 his extradition to the United States, where he faces espionage charges and up to 175 years in prison.
The controversial artist supporting his release claims that his safe will be closed on Friday and its contents will completely dissolve if the ‘Dead Man’s Switch’ timer is not reset daily.
The 24-hour countdown will only restart, he says, if “someone close” to Assange confirms that he is still alive every day.
The works of art, he claims, are kept in a 29-ton safe with an “extremely corrosive” substance.
Andrei Molodkin claims to have collected 16 works of art estimated to be worth $45 million and is now threatening to destroy them.
WikiLeaks founder Assange awaits the results of his final appeal against his extradition to the US, where he faces espionage charges and up to 175 years in prison.
It comes amid concerns from Assange’s supporters that he is suffering from health problems, with his lawyer saying his “life is at risk” if he is extradited.
“In our catastrophic era, when we have so many wars, destroying art is much more taboo than destroying a person’s life,” Molodkin said. News from heaven.
‘Since Julian Assange has been in prison… freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of information has begun to be increasingly repressed. I have this very strong feeling now.”
Molodkin has already made headlines after spraying copies of Prince Harry Spare’s memoirs with “blood” in protest at his revelation that he killed fighters while serving in Afghanistan.
The sculptor is a former Soviet army soldier, anti-war activist and Russian dissident, and now lives in the south of France.
He previously made a huge portrait of Vladimir Putin using blood donated by Ukrainian soldiers and says he cannot return to Russia because he fears Putin’s regime will imprison him for his work.
His latest stunt, he claims, was done with the help of artists and donors who gave him art in a show of support for Assange.
Inside the dungeon, two white barrels have been photographed next to the boxes that supposedly contain the works of art.
Assange’s wife Stella supports the Dead Man’s Switch project, which she called “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 works 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 confidentiality agreement to reveal which one.
Giampaolo Abbondio, who has known Molodkin for years, said he initially said there was “no way” he would offer the job, but then became convinced.
“It made me realize that it’s more relevant to the world to have an Assange than an extra Picasso, so I decided to accept,” he told Sky.
Molodkin is said to keep the safe in his studio in the south of France before moving it to a museum.
The sculptor is a former Soviet army soldier and Russian dissident, and now lives in the south of France.
Afghans and Iraqis donated blood for an artwork by Molodkin titled Real Blood. The sculpture was projected onto St Paul’s Cathedral in protest against Prince Harry’s role in the war in Afghanistan.
Molodkin previously made a huge portrait of Vladimir Putin using blood donated by Ukrainian soldiers.
Inside the dungeon, two white barrels have been photographed next to boxes said to contain the works of art.
One of the barrels, Molodkin claims, contains acidic powder, while the other contains an accelerator that could trigger a chemical reaction that would completely decimate the factory.
Assange’s wife, Stella, supports the Dead Man’s Switch project, which she called “a work of art.”
‘Julián’s political imprisonment is an act of true terrorism against democracy.
‘The real objectives here are not just Julian Assange, but the public’s right to know and the future of being able to hold power to account.
“If democracy wins, the art will be preserved, as will Julian’s life.”
The WikiLeaks founder has been held in the maximum security prison HMP Belmarsh, in southeast London, since April 2019, after being forcibly expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy when his seven-year diplomatic asylum was revoked.
A public hearing will be held on February 20 and 21, which is considered the last opportunity for Assange to prevent his extradition.