The Foundry, utopian art space
The Foundry, utopian art space
It was during his military service, in Siberia, in the time of Soviet Union that Andreï Molodkin had to deal with black gold, on mission to deliver it into huge tanks, which really struck him visually. Before the overwhelming success oh his Oil period, Andreï had been highly acclaimed with a body of work, monumental graphic pieces made exclusively with ballpoint pens, highlighting the ambiguous relationship between political powers and the dark forces of profit.
In 2013, Andreï Molodkin acquired a gigantic old foundry (3500 m2 of space) located within the confines of the French Pyrenees, in partnership with the London based foundation : a/political which collaborates with artists, leading institutions, on socio-political topics and ambitious projects. The plantoriginally conceived for the production of armaments and military equipment, was used, later on, as a shelter for immigrants fleeing Franco’s and Mussolini’s fascist regimes. The Foundry has become now an experimental art space, hosting ambitious projects outside the control of the contemporary art market. Hosted artists are invited to producelarge-scale work in the neighboring factories. In addidtion, a/political acquires artworks for permanent installations at The Foundry to Andreï Molodkin roused a controversy in 2013 with one of his piece of an unbelievable anticipation : “Immigrant Blood”, which represents the bust of Marianne which gets filled with blood from asylum seekers. Part of a body of work that sheds blood or black gold in translucent molds, giving shape and meaning once filled in by the chosen fluid. The same principle applied to a rose window, symbol of Protestantism in England, exhibited in Northern Ireland under the name “Catholic blood” was rapidly censored ! This reminder of “bloody Sunday” still very present in the irish collective unconscious was considered “way out of line” by the exhibition organization, which has subjected Molodkin to his most blantant case of censorship. Why, did I launch The “Foundry”? Commercial pressure on artists is increassingly stronger and stronger. Galleries refuse to take any risks when investing, and museums also depend on projects validation by boards of sponsors. Museums will even tell you how many visitors attented the exhibition, how many reviews and headlines in the press – everything is encrypted, quantified ! Artists feel that their work is kept as hostage by some triumphant capitalism. Many artists are tired of this situation, just like I was : Something had to be done. The Foundry is a space which brings total freedom and a unique artistic comfort to all guest artists. The artist is free to choose to whom he will present his work : it can be a presentation to the public or only to guests. This is a private space, so it is possible to show artwork that could be considered as politically incorrect. No one can prohibit their presentation. It is also a place of residence, a haven where artists can easily explore and develop their ideas thanks to its exceptional size, without being confined in limited spaces which hurt their creative opportunities, and above all, it is free from censorship.
A/Political opened The Foundry in June 2015 with ‘The Copenhagen Declaration’, a collaboration by Jens Haaning and Santiago Sierra. The sentence tired of this global sadistic regime comprises 31 black painted wooden letters, each measuring up to 360 x 250 x 100 cm. Installed in the central epic-scale room, the statement forms a dialogue with The Foundry’s political history.
The collaboration between Jens Haaning and Santiago Sierra was initiated by Marie Thams (artist and curator based in Copenhagen) who is the curator of the Copenhagen Declaration. The work was first shown at Faurschou foundation’s exhibition premises in the free port of Copenhagen.
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