Introduction / Andrei Molodkin

Transformer No. M208 was presented at the Palazzo Ducale, Genoa in 2014. Incorporating Iraqi crude oil into repressive installations, Andrei Molodkin transformed the sites of the Cappella Dogale and the Salone del Maggior Consiglio into politicised and immersive environments.


The Salone del Maggior Consiglio, originally housing the Great Council of the Republic of Genoa, became the site for the tripartite installation of three separate cubes. The piece comprises steel frames upon which acrylic tubes filled with crude oil and activated argon gas are balanced. Molodkin employed this monochromatic palette as a comment on the binary relationship and interplay between notions of utopia and dystopia. Inside La Cappella Dogale the fourth freestanding sculpture took the form of a cross; framed by Iraqi crude oil, acting as a liminal indication of the ‘just wars’ waged in the region seemingly for the purpose of extracting oil from the Persian Gulf.


Transformer No. M208 raises pertinent questions about the free-flow of capital in today’s society in contrast to the imposed, unjust systems and borders obstructing subjects escaping conflict, political oppression and economic deprivation. In this particular context, it spoke directly to those fleeing from the across the Mediterranean, in many cases arriving on the coast of Italy – a situation that has only intensified since the conception of the piece.