Peter Aspden in the Financial Times spends some time with Andrei Molodkin who will be Russia’s artist at the Venice Biennale:
“All that is solid melts into air,” wrote Karl Marx famously, but Molodkin positions himself in the middle of that process, concerned with the liquid state, fascinated by its ability to flow, to give life, to make money, and to transform itself. He is refreshingly unafraid to make epic statements on behalf of his art. One conclusion to be drawn from his work, he says, is that “democracy, freedom, terrorism, hope, war, sex – all these are connected vessels”. [ . . . ]
We talk, briefly, of Hirst. Molodkin is less interested in the work per se than in its socio-economic context. He was excited by the famous Sotheby’s auction of Hirst’s work last year, which raised £111m and which coincided with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. “That was a performance. That was the art work,” he says eagerly, “that moment, that context.”
“Culture,” as Molodkin says in a recent catalogue of his work, “is an emptiness we have to fill and affirm with economics.” Art and money have replenished each other over much of the last decade. Is it time they stood apart for a while and examined each other more closely?
The Man with Oil in his Veins (Financial Times)