Living Pain Art

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Jul 23 2012

Location: 

St. Petersburg, Russia

Often referred to as a ‘living pain’ artist, Petr Pavlensky chooses performance art that often takes form of extreme acts as his political language. Some of his stunts involve sewing his mouth shut in political protest against the incarceration of Pussy Riot members, wrapping himself naked in a barbed wire as a commentary on a series of laws suppressing civic activism and intimidating the population, nailing his scrotum on the Red Square referring to the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of Russian society, or cutting of his earlobe in protest against Russia’s use of forced psychiatry against dissidents. He is now facing three years in prison for burning doors of the headquarters of Russian Federal Security. Blurring the boundaries between art and his anti-Kremlin views, he sets himself apart from other similar artists by making weakness central to his work. Interesting thing is that he considers the authorities’ reaction in advance and makes it a part of his performance. If the authorities act as an aggressive apparatus, then they act according to his scenario.

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