Russian artist nails genitals to Red Square pavement in protest act

Pyotr Pavlensky nailed himself in protest against 'the police state'

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The Independent Culture

A Russian performance artist has stripped naked and nailed his genitals to the ground of Moscow’s Red Square in a shocking protest aimed at “the police state”.

Pyotr Pavlensky, who sat for an hour and a half outside the Lenin Mausoleum with the nail through his testicles yesterday, described his ‘Fixation’ act as “a metaphor for apathy, political indifference and [the] fatalism of modern Russian society”.

The 29-year old performer, who timed his stunt to coincide with Police Day yesterday, faced spending 15 days in custody but was freed today. It is not yet clear whether he will be re-arrested, after a judge ruled that documents had been presented incorrectly in court.

The extreme public act was recorded on video and uploaded online before leading social media platforms blocked it, according to Russian news website

In May, protest artist Pavlensky attracted attention by wrapping barbed wire around his naked body outside St Petersburg’s parliament, a symbol for human existence inside a “repressive legal system”.

The artist wrapped himself in barbed wire during a protest in May

In July 2012 he sewed his lips together and stood outside St Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral in support of the jailed Pussy Riot protesters.

Since President Vladmir Putin’s re-election in March last year, critics have accused him of tackling dissent with an iron fist.

A statement released by Pavlensky read: "As the government turns the country into one big prison, stealing from the people and using the money to grow and enrich the police apparatus and other repressive structures, society is allowing this, and forgetting its numerical advantage, is bringing the triumph of the police state closer by its inaction."

Figures from the Russian arts world praised his recent act, with one calling it “a manifesto of powerlessness”.