In Russia’s Red Square a Russian performance artist nailed his scrotum to the ground in a Jackass style protest. The man stripped naked and proceeded to nail his private parts to the cobblestone road in the square to make a statement about the country’s becoming a “police state,” and other societal ills.
29 year-old Pyotr Pavlensky is said that his actions were to highlight problems with Russian society which, he claims, suffers from fatalism. apathy, and political “indifference. This is not the first time that the Russian artist has gone to extreme lengths to protest events in his country.
Pyotr previously sewed his lips together to protest the imprisonment of the Russian all female feminist punk rock protest group Pussy Riot, which is based in Moscow. He also stripped naked and wrapped up in barbed wire to protest the government’s legal system.
According to press releases, Mr Pavlensky entered Red Square on foot where he disrobed and then sat on the ground with his knees bent to hammer nails through his scrotum. The artist’s Jackass Style protest certainly got the attention of law enforcement officials and the world’s press. Pyotr chose the area of the square just outside Lenin’s Mausoleum, one of Moscow’s most popular and well known tourist landmarks.
The Russian’s protest lasted for approximately one hour and when the police arrived they covered him with a blanket. It was reported that the law enforcement officials were a bit unsure of how to deal with the situation. Once the man had his genitals released from the cobblestone road, they took the blanket wrapped protester away in an ambulance to be treated at a hospital.
Apparently Pavlensky refused anything other than the most basic of medical treatment before being taken to a police station where he was arrested. The performance artist said of his Jackass Style protest that he was performing an artistic rendering of the country’s problems that he titled Fixation.
The artist said that the country was “fixated” on its defeat and loss to the extent that it was nailing citizens to the “Kremlin cobblestones” harder than the bureaucrats were. He claimed that his fellow countrymen were too apathetic to care that the government were stealing from the public. He also said money was being funneled into building up a police state.
Johnny Knoxville and his fellow Jackass stars, or the later more extreme version of the show called Dirty Sanchez, specialized in stunts that involved nailing their genitals to tables and other sickening acts, and Pyotr obviously got the idea from either Knoxville’s show or the latter more extreme one.
The performance artist has gotten support from the Russian Gruppa Voina art collective. The group, which is associated with Pussy Riot, praised Pyotr for his protest display calling it “Vienna action art” from the 1960’s. A style that specialized in “blood and pain.” The collective tweeted their approval of Pavlensky’s protest.
Kirill Serebrennikov also supported the artist’s protest and posted on his Facebook page that the gesture was a powerful one that spoke of “absolute despair.” With his record of nude, and painful, public displays, Pavlensky will like spend up to 15 days in prison for his latest protest.
The performance artist’s Red Square Jackass style protest, in which he nailed his scrotum to the ground, has insured that he’s gotten the maximum amount of publicity for his stunt. Pyotr is no stranger to nude, painful and bloody protests and it will be interesting, albeit somewhat sickening, to see what he comes up with next. Until then, he will be languishing in a Russian prison.
By Michael Smith