Scrotum Artist Faces Five Years
Moscow -- Pyotr Pavlensky, the performance artist who stripped naked and nailed his scrotum to the cobble paving in Red Square, may face up to five years in prison.
Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network won't be viewing any of his performance pieces in the foreseeable future.
A Russian report stated that the 29-year-old artist now faces the charge of hooliganism, the same charge as art/punk band Pussy Riot and the Greenpeace activists whose ship the Arctic Sunrise was seized during a protest. The hooliganism charge is used as a catch-all for most breaches of public order.
The St Petersburg performance artist had reportedly sat for an hour and a half in Red Square, one of Moscow's main tourist attractions, with a nail driven through his scrotum fastening him to the ground. His "fixation" act, was a metaphor for apathy in Russia, he stated.
Pyotr Pavlensky, 29, had been arrested after stripping naked and driving a nail through his scrotum into the cobblestone paving outside the Lenin Mausoleum in Red Square.
The artist is known for sewing his mouth shut, in protest of the incarcerated Punk/art band Pussy Riot. He sat for an hour on Sunday, at the tourist attraction unable to move. The police and paramedics eventually freed him and he was later arrested.
Pavlensky stated his "Fixation" act was a metaphor for apathy in Russia. An avid critic of President Vladimir Putin Pavlensky has blamed the crackdown on dissent since his re-election in March last year for much that ails Russia today.
In a written statement about the protest, which took place on Police Day in Russia, Pavlensky said, "When the authorities turn the country into one big prison, openly robbing the populace and channelling funds to increase and enrich the police and other security agencies, society accepts arbitrariness and, having forgotten its advantage in numbers, brings the triumph of the police state closer through its inaction."
Other leading figures from the Russian art world praised his Red Square act in comments on grani.ru, with one calling it a "powerful gesture of absolute despair" and another, "a manifesto of powerlessness".
Pavlensky is also known for sewing his lips together in July while demonstrating outside St Petersburg's Kazan Cathedral in support of the band Pussy Riot. In May of this year, he wrapped his naked body in a "cocoon" of barbed wire outside the city's parliament.
The 1 1/2 hour protest performance held outside the Lenin Mausoleum was recorded on video which has now gone viral.
Watch video on our homepage.