Russian Artist Pyotr Pavlensky Nails His Scrotum to Red Square to Protest ‘Police State’
An artist known for making political statements through acts of self mutilation nailed his scrotum to the ground in Moscow’s Red Square on Sunday to protest growing government repression in Russia.
Video footage showing 29-year-old Pyotr Pavlensky sitting naked in Red Square with a large nail driven through his scrotum and into the cobblestoned ground beneath him was posted on YouTube over the weekend. Pavlensky said his painful protest was against what he called a creeping “police state” in his homeland.
“The performance can be seen as a metaphor for the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of contemporary Russian society,” Pavlensky said in a statement. “As the government turns the country into one big prison, stealing from the people and using the money to grow and enrich the police apparatus and other repressive structures, society is allowing this, and forgetting its numerical advantage, is bringing the triumph of the police state closer by its inaction.”
Pavlensky was first taken to the hospital, then arrested by police. He was charged with ‘petty hooliganism’ and released.
This isn’t Pavlensky’s first act of self-mutilative performance art. Last year, he sewed his mouth shut to protest the imprisonment of members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, detentions viewed by many around the world as an act of political repression. Pavlensky has also wrapped himself in barbed wire outside a government building to protest what he called the nation’s “repressive legal system.”