|Petr Andreevich Pavlensky
Пётр Андреевич Павленский
March 8, 1984 |
Leningrad, Russian SSR, Soviet Union
|Education||Saint Petersburg Art and Industry Academy, St. Petersburg Pro Arte Foundation for Culture and Arts|
|Known for||Actionism, political art|
|Notable work||Political art :
Seam, Carcass, Fixation, Freedom, Segregation
Petr (or Pyotr) Andreyevich Pavlensky (Russian: Пётр Андреевич Павленский; born March 8, 1984) is a Russian performance artist and political activist.
Early life and education
Born in Leningrad in 1984, Pavlensky studied monumental art at the Saint Petersburg Art and Industry Academy. During his fourth year in the Academy, he took additional training at St. Petersburg Pro Arte Foundation for Culture and Arts (ru:Про Арте).
Pavlensky and Oksana Shalygina founded an independent online newspaper Political Propaganda in 2012, which was dedicated to contemporary art in political contexts, "overcoming cultural chauvinism, implemented by the government", feminism and gender equality.
Pavlensky first became known for sewing his mouth shut in political protest against the incarceration of members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot. On July 23, 2012, Pavlensky appeared at Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg with his lips sewn up holding a banner that stated, "Action of Pussy Riot was a replica of the famous action of Jesus Christ (Matthew 21:12–13)". Police called an ambulance and sent him for a psychiatric examination; the psychiatrist declared him sane and released him shortly after the incident. The artist stated that he was highlighting the lack of regard for artists in contemporary Russia, saying: "My intention was not to surprise anyone or come up with something unusual. Rather, I felt I had to make a gesture that would accurately reflect my situation."
On May 3, 2013, Pavlensky held a political protest against repressive government policies. His art performance was called Carcass. His assistants brought him naked, wrapped in a multilayered cocoon of barbed wire, to the main entrance of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg. The artist remained silent, lying still in a half-bent position inside the cocoon, and did not react to the actions of others until he was released by the police with the help of garden clippers. This performance was awarded the Alternative Prize for Russian Activist Art in the category Actions Implemented in Urban Space in 2013.
In her interview with Radio Liberty, Pavlensky's colleague Oksana Shalygina mentioned 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 with police, ambulances 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 the 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.: Dmitry Volchek, "Cultural Diary: On Good Friday», Radio Liberty, May 8, 2013
On November 10, 2013, while sitting naked on the stone pavement in front of the Lenin's Mausoleum on the Red Square, Moscow, Pavlensky hammered a large nail through his scrotum affixing it to the stone pavement. His action coincided with the annual Russian Police Day. When the police arrived, they covered him with a blanket and later arrested him. "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 February 23, 2014, Pavlensky organized an action called Freedom in support of Maidan and 2014 Ukrainian Revolution. The artist and his friends built an imitation barricade on Tripartite Bridge in Saint Petersburg, burned tires, beat drums, and shouted Maidan slogans. The action was interrupted by Saint Petersburg police who arrested Pavlensky and his colleagues.
On February 25, 2014, Dzerzhinsky Criminal Court stopped the administrative case against Pavlensky and his assistant Yaroslav Gradil (Russian: Ярослав Градиль) on the accusations of hooliganism, and released them from prison. An investigation into Pavlensky's alleged violation of the regulations on political meetings continued. He was charged with vandalism due to the tire burning.
Lubyanka's burning door
Pavlensky came to the first entrance of the Lubyanka Building, which is the headquarters of the Russian Federal Security Service on November 9, 2015 at 1:15 a.m. Moscow time, and doused the front door with gasoline and set fire to it with a cigarette lighter. The doors of the building were partially burnt. Pavlensky was detained after 30 seconds without resistance, and charged with debauchery. A few hours after the action, a video appeared on the Internet with an explanation of the meaning of the burning. The action is called "Lubyanka's burning door" according to Pavlensky. The criminal case against Pavlensky was opened on November 9, 2015 under the "vandalism" section of article 214 of the Russian criminal code. On November 10, 2015 in the Tagansky district court, Pavlensky declared: "I want my action to be reclassified to terrorism."
According to gallerist Marat Gelman, the action shows Pavlensky's "obvious symbolism". "The Lubyanka door is the gate of hell, the entrance into the world of absolute evil. And against the backdrop of hellfire is a lonely artist, waiting to be captured ... Pavlensky's figure at the door of the FSB in flames - very important symbol for today's Russia, both political and artistic."
On 8 June 2016, the Moscow criminal court declared Pavlensky guilty and sentenced him to a fine of 500,000 rubles.
On 13 August 2016, Pavlensky gave a lecture in Odessa, Ukraine which ended with the inebriated Ukrainian journalist and screenwriter Vladimir Nestrenko instigating a fight that ended with his stabbing one of two security guards who tried to subdue him. The second of the two security guards suffered a fatal heart attack after the incident.
Sexual assault allegations and leaving Russia for France
In the beginning of 2017, Pavlensky received asylum in France, after he fled Russia with his partner Oksana Shalygina and their children amid allegations of sexual assault. Pavlensky denied the allegations and said the investigation was politically motivated. Media in Russia reported that a young actress from Moscow theatre "Teatr.doc" had accused Pavlensky of sexually assaulting her. 
Bank of France
On 16 October 2017, Pavlensky was arrested in Paris after setting on fire the entrance of an office of the Bank of France, located on the Place de la Bastille in Paris. He was charged with property damage, together with his partner Oksana Shalygina. He was initially detained in a psychiatric unit, until a judge ordered him to be placed in pretrial detention.
Projects and actions
- 2012 – Action Stitch. In front of Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg.
- 2013 – Action Fixation. Red Square, Moscow.
- 2013 – Action Carcass. In front of Mariinsky Palace, Saint Petersburg.
- 2014 – Action Freedom. On Little Konushennaya bridge
- 2014 – Action Segregation. On the wall outside the Serbsky Institute of Psychiatry in Moscow.
- 2015 – Action Lubyanka's burning door. On the door of Federal Security Service in Moscow.
- 2017 – Unnamed action. At the entrance of an office of the Bank of France.
Group art exhibitions
In 2012, Pavlensky participated in the alumni and students art exhibition Oculus Two organized by Pro Arte Foundation. In 2013, in front of the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, he organized a street art exhibition Ghosts of Identity, which came as a project of his Political Propaganda periodical.
He was awarded the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent in 2016. The Prize was later withdrawn after Pavlensky announced his intention to dedicate it (and its monetary award) to an insurgent group and then explicitly endorsed the use of violence as a valid method to combat government oppression.
Pavlensky was also nominated for Russia's "Innovation" art prize in 2016, but was later barred by the National Centre for Contemporary Art on the grounds that he had broken the law, prompting four members of the jury to leave in protest. 
- RFE/RL (25 August 2015). "Eight Russians Who Have Taken A Stand" – via Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.
- V. Martinovich. Petr Pavlensky: «Pussy Riot was much lighter and less harmful than Jesus Christ's actions» // www.belgazeta.by. – 2012. – Aug.13
- K.Petrov Petr Pavlensky: «Art Is Unthinkable without Experiment» // RosBalt. – 2012. – Sept. 15
- Own. inf. New Site about Art and Politics // ArtChronicles. – 2012. – December, 4
- A. Mavliev, K. Akhmetjhanova Artist sutured his mouth in support of Pussy Riot // Komsomolskaya Pravda. – 2012. – July, 23.
- SobKor A Saint Petersburg artist sutured his mouth in support of Pussy Riot // RIA News. – 2012. – July, 23.
- SobKor Petersburg Peter Pavlensky sewed his mouth in support of punk parishioners // pralaya.ru. – 2012. – July, 24.
- A. Matveeva Petr Pavlensky: «A simple intersection of a vertical line with horizontal is already considered as an insult to the faith» // artchronika.ru. – 2012. – July, 24.
- V. Komarova. With widely sutured mouth // Echo of Moscow. – 2012. – Aug, 6.
- Artist Pyotr Pavlensky, a supporter of jailed members of the female punk band "Pussy Riot", looks on with his mouth sewed up as he protests outside the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, July 23, 2012. // Best photos of the year 2012, Reuters. – 2012. – November 14, 2013.
- 'Petr Pavlensky // Escapist. – 2013. – July, 10.
- R. Moshkhoyev In St. Petersburg, the trial of "naked artist" has started // Komsomolskaya Pravda. – 2013. – May, 4.
- A Stolyarchuk St. Petersburg artist wrapped himself in the barbed wire // www.colta.ru. – 2013. – May, 3.
- Own korr. Activists explained of the naked man action near the Legislative Assembly building // www.mr7.ru. – 2013. – May, 3.
- Own korr. Naked artist wrapped himself in the barbed wire near St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Building // НТВ. – 2013. – May, 3.
- "Peter Pavlensky, Saint Petersburg Artist" (in Russian). Grani.ru, Daily Internet Newspaper. October 28, 2013.
- D. Volchek. Weekly Review Archived 2013-11-10 at the Wayback Machine. // Radio Liberty. – 2013. – May, 4.
- D. Volchek Cultural Diary: On Good Friday // Radio Liberty. – 2013. – May, 8.
- AFP. "Protester nails testicles to Red Square cobblestone". November 10, 2013.
- "Self-harming artist Pavlensky nailed his testicles to the Red Square". NEWSru.com (in Russian). November 10, 2013. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- "Тело как оружие. Почему Петр Павленский неуязвим для власти". slon.ru. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
- "Художник Павленский и Ко устроили "Майдан" в центре Петербурга". Moskovsky Komsomolets. February 24, 2014.
- "Петр Павленский устроил "майдан" в центре Петербурга". Fontanka. February 23, 2014.
- "Петр Павленский зажег покрышки у Спаса-на-Крови в поддержку Майдана". Argumenty i Fakty. February 23, 2014.
- "Художнику Павленскому простили поджог покрышек". Lenta.ru. February 25, 2014.
- Nechepurenko, Ivan (July 28, 2015). "How Russia's 'most controversial artist' persuaded his interrogator to change sides". The Moscow Times. guardian.co.uk.
- Художник Павленский отрезал себе мочку уха (in Russian). Slon.ru. October 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-19.
- Jones, Jonathan (9 November 2015). "Pyotr Pavlensky is setting Russia's evil history ablaze".
- "Russia Update: FSB Seals Entrance of Lubyanka as Artist Pavlensky Awaits Determination of His Case".
- "Павленский приговорен к штрафу в 500 тысяч рублей за поджог двери ФСБ". meduza.io. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Davidzon, Vladislav. "Russian Conceptual Artist Petr Pavlensky Gives Sensational Lecture On Violent Political Art, Evening Ends With Lethal Brawl". The Odessa Review. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
- "Radical protest artist Pyotr Pavlensky flees from Russia to France". 2017-01-17. Retrieved 2017-10-16.
- "Exiled Russian artist torches central bank branch in Paris". 2017-10-16. Retrieved 2017-10-16.
- Codrea-Rado, Anna (2017-10-19). "Russian Artist Is Charged Over Fire at Central Bank Building in Paris". Retrieved 2017-10-19.
- "Russian activist sets fire to FSB Lubyanka door".
- "Oculus Two: Exhibition of Young Artists of Pro Arte Foundation" (in Russian). St. Petersburg Pro Arte Foundation for Culture and Arts, Russia.
- "2016 Laureates". Human Rights Foundation. 2016.
- "Individual agents of change and state response: Performance art and its impact in contemporary Russia". Aliide Naylor. 2016.
- Political Propaganda, online magazine, in Russian.
- Video of the action "Stitch", 07. 23.2012.
- Video of the action Carcass TV Channel Rain, March 5, 2013, in Russian.
- Animated Gif of the action "Nail" or "Fixation" November 11, 2013, Red Square, Moscow.
- «What to Do?», theatrical performance «Russian Woods» with Petr Pavlensky starring, 42 min, in Russian.
- One hour broadcast They with Petr Pavlensky TV Channel, Echo of Moscow, in Russian.
- Lecture on political art, given by Petr Pavlensky in Bergen, Norway on September 9, 2013, in Russian.
- Video of art exhibition «Ghosts of Identity», September 21, 2013, in Russian.
- D. Zykov. Video of action Nail. Artist Petr Pavlensky nailed his testicles to the cobblestone of Red Square, Grani.ru, October 11, 2013.
- Severed earlobe is merely latest scandalous art stunt by Pyotr Pavlensky, Russia Beyond the Headlines
- Too Creative Dissident A2 16/ 2016