Catholic blood used in controversial art works

A controversial Russian artist is using blood donated by Catholics in politically motivated art works being exhibited in Northern Ireland.

In Andrei Molodkin’s “Catholic Blood” exhibition, freshly donated human blood from a pharmaceutical refrigerator is pumped through a replica of the rose window adorning the façade of the British Houses of Parliament.

In an adjoining room in Londonderry art gallery is a similar acrylic sculpture with a replica of the rose window at Westminster Abbey.

Molodkin, who sees the rose windows as Protestant symbols, created the sculptures specifically for the context of Derry and Northern Ireland.

He describes his works as a commentary on the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 and a clause of the British constitution that forbids a member of Parliament who is a Catholic from advising the sovereign on ecclesiastical matters.

The artist says this implies that no British prime minister could ever be Catholic — an interpretation disputed by an expert in constitutional affairs, Dr Bob Morris of University College London.

“Yes, but there have been no Catholic prime ministers,” Molodkin responds. “Perhaps when we talk about it, we will get one.”

Molodkin, who describes himself as a utopian thinker, formerly served in the Soviet Army, delivering oil and transporting missiles in Siberia.

During this time he began sketching with military-issue ballpoint pens. Now he still uses ballpoint pens to make precise drawings on gigantic canvases.

His work has been exhibited in several major art museums in Europe and the United States, and in 2009 he represented his country in the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale.





Image: BY Gallery

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