Russia: Famous Shock Artist Petr Pavlensky Protests Against The Use Of Psychiatry For Political Purposes
St. Petersburg actionist artist Petr Pavlensky cut off a piece of his earlobe while sitting on the roof of the Institute of Psychiatry called the Serbsky Center, in Moscow. He was completely naked. Pavlensky called his action “Separation.” This action was done in protest to the use of Psychiatry for political purposes.
“The knife separates the earlobe from the body. The concrete wall of the psychiatric institute separates smart society from insane patients. Turning the benefits of psychiatry to political purposes – [means] the police apparatus regains the authority to define the line between intelligence and insanity. Arming himself with psychiatric diagnoses, a bureaucrat in a white robe cuts off those pieces from society that prevent him from installing a single monolithic dictatorship for all and compulsory rules for everyone” – the artist said, explaining his action.
After the performance, police seized Pavlensky and delivered him to the Botkin Hospital.
Photos reported by Oksana Shalygina
Video of "Separation"/ Отделение action by Political Propaganda/Политическая Пропаганда:
This is not the first time Pavlensky has shocked the public with his performance. In 2013, he nailed his scrotum to the pavement on the Red Square in Moscow, "A naked artist, looking at his testicles nailed to the cobblestone is a metaphor of apathy, political indifference, and fatalism of Russian society", declared Pavlensky in his statement to the media. On May 3, 2013 Pavlensky held a political protest action against repressive policies of the government. His art performance was called Carcass [Video of action "Carcass"]. Pavlensky's colleague Oksana Shalygina mentioned in an interview that a metaphor of the action had its immediate realization in the reality: as soon as the barbed wire was cut off, and the artist was freed from it, "the same exact wire wrapped him back in as police, ambulance and numerous field investigators". Later, Pavlensky made the following comment about his art work:
A series of laws aimed at suppressing civic activism, intimidation of the population, steadily growing number of political prisoners, the laws against NGOs, the 18+ laws, censorship laws, activity of Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, "promotion of homosexuality" laws – all these laws aren't aimed against criminals, but against the people. And at last the Blasphemy law. That is why I organized this action. The human body is naked like a carcass, there is nothing on it except the barbed wire, which by the way was invented for protection of livestock. These laws like the wire, keep people in individual pens: all this persecution of political activists, "prisoners of May, 6", governmental repressions is the metaphor of the pen with the barbed wire around it. All this has been done in order to turn people into gutless and securely guarded cattle, which can only consume, work, and reproduce...
In addition to this, the artist sewed his mouth shut as a sign of solidarity with the participants of the punk group Pussy Riot.
Video 12 July, 2012 – Action Stitch. In front of Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg
Following these several actions Pavlensky has repeatedly been examined by psychiatrists who always have recognized him sane.
In a Video by Grani.Ru highlighting the work of well know actionist shock artists of Russia, Petr Pavlensky urges people to fight against the increase of repressions happening in Russian society and to not settle for Dictatorship ...he states, "come out to the streets, sing, pierce yourself with sharp objects..."