In full view of tourists and Russians everywhere, the performance artist Peter Pavlensky nailed his testicles to a nail on the cobblestones of Red Square. Entitled “Fringe,” the performance action was timed to the Day of Police, which is celebrated on November 10. It was a protest action against the Kremlin’s crackdown on political rights and against police brutality in Russia.
The action began at 1:00 PM. Around 2:30 PM, the 29-year-old artist was taken by ambulance to the First City Hospital. After going to the hospital to deliver him to the police station.
In a statement about the artist’s action, called “Freeze,” it was it must be regarded as a “metaphor of apathy and political indifference and fatalism of the modern Russian society.”
Click below to close-up view of “Freeze” on Red Square.
Pavlensky is famous for his high-profile protests. This past May, he went to the building of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg while naked and wrapped with barbed wire. This campaign, called “Carcass,” symbolized “man’s existence in a repressive legal system, where any movement causes severe reaction of the law, bites into the body of an individual.”
In July 2012, Pavlensky held a rally in support of prisoners participating Pussy Riot. He sewed his mouth and stood at the Kazan Cathedral with a placard “Speech Pussy Riot has been famous action replay of Jesus Christ (mf.21 :12-13).”
Pavlensky said: “Sewing up my mouth, I showed the situation of the contemporary artist in Russia, living in an environment where there’s a ban on publicity, the tightening of censorship and suppression of public statements in contemporary art.”
Pyotr Pavlensky’s bodily public actions “involve the actual power mechanisms.” His performances of have had wide international resonance. Born in Leningrad in 1984, he got his education from the Saint Petersburg State Art and Industry Academy, named after Alexander von Stieglitz and the program of the Pro Arte Foundation which promotes contemporary culture. Pavlensky established magazine Politicheskaya Propaganda. He works with actions and performances in public space.
“Human body is something that the power mechanisms, the state and the society try to discipline by putting into jail and causing injuries. Working with my body I show what the state does with the society. These processes reflect and are a metaphor for what is happening with the social body. Working in public space I manage to involve the actual power mechanisms into my actions.”
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- Russian performance artist nails himself to Red Square cobblestone by his TESTICLES in protest at Kremlin’s crackdown on rights (dailymail.co.uk)
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- Pussy Riot member to be sent to new Russian prison (bigstory.ap.org)
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- Russian Man Nails His Testicles in Protest. Warning: GRAPHIC VIDEO PLEASE, AND 18+ ONLY (mojiakubudel.com)
- Protester hospitalized after nailing his testicles to Red Square cobblestone to protest Russian ‘police state’ (rawstory.com)
- Protester nails testicles to Red Square (theage.com.au)