Artist Petr Pavlensky speaks out about his scrotum-nailing performance

Petr Pavlensky during a performance where he nailed his scrotum to the ground. Via YouTube
Petr Pavlensky during a performance where he nailed his scrotum to the ground.
Via YouTube

The performance artist who was arrested after stripping naked and nailing his scrotum to the cobblestones of Red Square has been released.

Petr Pavlensky, 29, drove a nail through his genitals on Sunday while sitting on Russia’s most famous square before police took him to the hospital and then to custody. A court dismissed charges of “petty hooliganism” and released him Monday.

Metro spoke with Pavlensky to find out how he managed to perform his stunt.

Metro: How did you pull this stunt before they could stop you?

Pavlensky: I understood that there is surveillance everywhere. But I had an advantage because every other illegal protest on Red Square has people waving flags and is very visible. The police can react on such things.

What was the message behind your performance?

I heard that when conditions are bad in prison, convicts drive nail into their bodies. To this I added an act of humility before my country. What I mean is that people find what is excessive, on what nails them but they do nothing. It makes them feel helpless.

Did you speak with doctors about the possible consequences of such performance?

I didn’t notice any consequences to my health. You know, I didn’t try to nail my eye! When I was nailing my testicles I wasn’t scared at all, but when I was preparing [for the stunt], I was. All the fears and phobias doubled up.

How did you prepare?

I thought about my clothes. And I tried to undress quickly . I had to be sure that I could take off my clothes in 40 seconds. Otherwise, the stunt could fail.

Of course, it must have been hard to ready yourself and nail your scrotum…

Fear is a natural feeling, when you are thinking about it. The only thing that was really important for me was not to severe a vein – there would be a lot of blood then. I didn’t want to create a blood fountain. So, I had to try to hammer a nail and not to hit a blue line. But as for the pain, I was full of adrenalin so I felt none.

What happened after the arrest?

I was taken to the hospital, they removed the nail and bandaged my balls. Then I got a tetanus shot. One psychiatrist asked me a few questions. Then a policeman began to ask questions – “Who helped you?,” “How you did it and why?,” “If you get paid for it?” – then they took me to the court. Three hours later I was told that I was free to go. I did not understand what had happened, I was preparing for other things.

The police themselves decided to make their own performance. They tried to convince me that they had covered me with a blanket to make me feel warm. Such good guys…

What’s the most important influence of your performance?

Every time I do something I hope that people realize that each person can speak out and do something. When I do something, I overcome fears and phobias. I’m just saying that every person is capable of many things.

How has your family reacted?

Oksana Shalygina, who is working with me in the online project Political Propaganda, is always supportive. I’m against the institution of marriage, so, I can say she is my ally. We have two children – they, too, in some way, are “partners”.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Missing Air Algerie plane from Burkina Faso has…

By Hamid Ould AhmedALGIERS (Reuters) - An Air Algerie flight crashed on Thursday en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers…

Local

As New York City property values surge, historic…

After a long and unsuccessful battle by community members and politicians to save the space, Rizzoli recently joined a growing number of iconic New York businesses displaced or permanently shuttered…

Local

Preachers rail at NYPD at Eric Garner's funeral

Preacher after preacher stepped up to the pulpit at a sweltering Brooklyn church on Wednesday to express fury at the city's police force during the funeral of Eric Garner, who…

Local

Newark schools probed after claims of race discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education said on Wednesday it was investigating complaints that a plan to reorganize public schools in Newark, New Jersey, discriminates against black students.

Movies

Review: Joe Swanberg's 'Happy Christmas' does its best…

Filmmaker Joe Swanberg finds himself returning to the world of name cast indies with "Happy Christmas," starring Anna Kendrick and Melanie Lynskey.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…