Action Artist Petr Pavlensky on his Politically Engaged Art

Russian actionist, and a critic of the current political regime in Russia, Petr Pavlensky, in his presentation for the Inspiration Forum 2014 talked about his previous performances and thoroughly explained his artistic strategy.


Among the guests of the Inspiration Forum at the 18th Jihlava IDFF was Russian performer and an “action artist” Petr Pavlensky, known for his aritistic protests that earned him various media labels of a vandal, criminal, mentally-ill person and a distasteful troublemaker. During his first performance in summer 2012, he stood for one and a half hours in front of the Kazan Catherdral in St Petersburg with his lips sewn up holding a banner in support of the members of the controversial Pussy Riot who had been sentenced to several years in prison for their performance in an orthodox cathedral in Moscow. Almost a year later, in protest against Russia’s transformation into a police state, he nailed his scrotum to a pavement on the Red Square and only a couple of days before his visit to Jihlava, he cut off a part of his earlobe on the roof of a Moscow mental asylum where the courts and the police often send opposition activists for examination.

In his ninety-minute presentation, Pavlensky explained that his aim was not to caricature Putin, but to do politically engaged art, which, as he believes – unlike art reflecting politics – uncovers and criticises the system’s control instruments and its ideological apparatus. If you want to know more about Pavlensky’s motivations and philosophy, do not hesitate and watch a video recording of his presentation at Jihlava IDFF 2014’s Inspiration Forum.