Chopped earlobes and the long history of political shock art in Russia

Amy Bryzgel

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


On October 19, Russian artist Petr Pavlensky sat on a wall outside a mental institution in Moscow and cut off his earlobe. He did so in protest of the continued use of psychiatric treatment on dissidents in Russia. One year earlier, the same artist nailed his scrotum to a cobblestone in Red Square – a call to action to his fellow citizens to not remain passive in the face of corruption and abuses of authority.

Pavlensky is far from the only cultural figure to make international headlines. The punk feminist performance group Pussy Riot have hardly been out of the papers since the August 17 2012 ruling that three members were to be jailed jailed for two years for hooliganism for their performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, which voiced objection to the open support of Putin by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Amy Bryzgel receives funding from The Leverhulme Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


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