Russian Performance Artist Cuts Off Earlobe As Political Protest

The extreme performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky created a storm in Russia last November by nailing his scrotum to the cobblestones of Moscow’s Red Square, he did this to denounce the political indifference of modern Russian society – the artist is at it again this time however Pavlensky has now cut off his earlobe to protest about the forced psychiatric treatment imposed on Russian political dissidents, reported in the Guardian.

The events took place last Sunday, when a naked Pavlensky climbed onto the roof of Moscow’s Serbsky psychiatric center – proceeded to sit on the ledge – and then to sever his earlobe with a very large kitchen knife.

Once the artist had carried out the disturbing act of self-mutilation, a bloodied Pavlensky was removed from the roof by police and then taken to a hospital.

“Armed with psychiatric diagnoses, the bureaucrat in a white lab coat cuts off from society those pieces that prevent him from establishing a monolithic dictate of a single, mandatory norm for everyone,” Pavlensky wrote on his wife’s Facebook page on the day of the event.

The performance artist’s wound was examined by doctors who went on to test him for signs of pneumonia as the temperatures were below-freezing at the time of the artist’s performance. Last night, Pavlensky’s solicitor, Dmitry Dinze, told the Guardian that the artist had been cleared of any disease or complications related to the self-inflicted wound to his ear.

The Serbsky State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry, where the artist carried out his extreme performative act; has earned the reputation of being a state instrument of oppression, giving questionable diagnoses to Russian dissidents, with human rights groups, including Amnesty International, considering its actions ‘politically motivated’.

Russian officials have repeatedly sought to have Pavlensky committed to a mental institution due to his confrontational political protests via the act of public self-mutilation. A St. Petersburg district court last week; turned down a second request to have Pavlensky examined presumably with the aim of having the artist detained.

When Pavlensky sewed his lips shut to protest at the prosecution of the punk-rock activists Pussy Riot in the summer of 2012; the artist was taken away in an ambulance and underwent a psychiatric evaluation, which he passed.

On Monday, while recovering at the hospital after removing his own earlobe, Pavlensky was psychiatrically assessed and was again declared sane, and later released – his solicitor told the Guardian.


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