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Political Performance Art: Russia Has Me By the Balls
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A civil rights performance artist Pydr Pavlensky puts on a show of the century but staging an apathetic protest to show the decline of Russian society. Over decades of public exhibitionism, Red Square has seen it all from executions to huge military parades. But this eccentric artist has taken it to a whole new level by nailing his scrotum to the cobblestones of the famous public place as a painful act of protest.

According to Pavlensky, his protest was his response to Russia’s declination into a “police state”. The timing was to take place on the same day as Police Day Sunday, a day that Russia’s law enforcement is honored.


In a statement, Pavlensky was quoted saying, “The performance can be seen as a metaphor for the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of contemporary Russian society. “  He was also quoted saying, “As the government turns the country into one big prison, stealing from the people and using money to grow and enrich the police apparatus and other repressive structures, society is allowing this, and forgetting its numerical advantage, its bringing the triumph of the police state closer by its inaction.”

As a self-proclaimed artist, Pavlensky has a background of outgoing performances such as sewing his lips shut to protest against jail sentences given to members of Pussy Riot. He also cocooned himself in barbwire just on the outskirts of a Russian government building. That particular act was a personification of which he said “The existence of a person inside a repressive legal system.” In other words he demonstrates someone being wrapped up and ripped apart all at once in the legal system.

A famous Russian theatre director called Kirill Serebrennikov wrote on Pavlensky’s Facebook page about that idiosyncratic act and how it was a “powerful gesture of absolute despair.”

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As reported in the Guardian, Pavlensky was seen strolling into Red Square around lunchtime on Sunday, proceeded to remove all his articles of clothing and sat down stark naked. With a nail gun, he attached himself via his scrotum to the cobblestones. After this outlandish display he was then taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries but he declined further medical assistance. Upon his release he was escorted to the police station.

According to the press, Pavlensky is scheduled to appear in district court in Moscow Monday morning regarding his outlandish conduct and could be sentenced for up to 15 days in jail.



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