Mechanical pumping, gurgling and groaning emanates from the basement of Void Gallery.
The blood of 36 Catholics is coursing through a Perspex replica of the Rose Window at Westminster.
Andrei Molodkin’s latest controversy, Catholic Blood, was created specifically for Northern Ireland, and Derry – UK City of Culture 2013.
An odour hits before the potent visuals resonate – harsh, metallic, and nauseating – they complicate an already highly charged installation. The reality of the material sets in as you witness crimson blood cascading into the Parliamentary window.
Consisting of a pharmaceutical refrigerator holding samples of the freshly donated blood of Catholics, medical pumps circulate the vital fluid through clinically designed Perspex, the heart of the kinetic installation.
Real-time footage of the process is projected onto the rear wall – amplifying the intensity of the experience.
Molodkin’s Catholic Blood addresses the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 and constitutional clause forbidding an MP from advising the State on religious matters if they are Roman Catholic – leading to the implied belief that no British Prime Minister could ever come from that faith.
‘Some people were angry that I hadn’t used both Catholic and Protestant blood. They felt cheated that I had only chosen to use Catholic blood. It was never my intention to mix religions – the intensity is in the separation… In Derry, there is a legacy of people who have given their blood for freedom, politics and religion.’
No stranger to danger, the artist has created installations using Russian soldier’s blood and Iraqi oil. His work is viciously political.
Born in the small town of Boui, 500km North of Moscow, Molodkin attended art school at the age of 12 after exhibiting talents that could be useful to the State.
Instead of taking drugs while in the army he smeared crude oil on bread, dried it on the radiator – and tripped out.