Russian Performance Artist and Activist, Pyotr Pavlensky Cuts Off His Ear To Protest Russian’s Use of Psychiatry for Political Purposes

Today in downtown Moscow, Russian performance artist and activist, Pyotr Pavlensky, best known for nailing his testicles to Red Square late last year, cut off a piece of his ear at a psychiatric institute in Moscow.

Pyotr Pavlensky cut off his earlobe with a large kitchen knife while sitting naked on the roof of the Serbsky Center in Moscow, a state psychiatric hospital and institute for the study of forensic psychiatry. In a statement released to Russian media, Pavlensky said he was protesting the use of psychiatry for political purposes.

“The knife severs the earlobe from the body. The granite wall of the psychiatric institute separates the sane from the insane. The police give themselves the power to determine the threshold between reason and madness,” Pavlensky explained.

A post on his wife’s Facebook page sheds some light on the nature of the protest, which Pavlensky said was to condemn Russia “returning to the use of psychiatry for political goals.” Also, he may just be a huge fan of Vincent Van Gogh.

Below is a translation of the wife’s post on Facebook.

The action of Peter Pavlenskogo “branch” Institute. Serbian Moscow 19 October Knife separates the earlobe from the body. A concrete wall separates Psychiatry Society of sound from the insane patients. Returning the use of Psychiatry for political purposes-police apparatus Gets the power to determine the threshold between reason and madness. At psychiatric diagnoses, a bureaucrat in the white robe cut off from society those pieces that are preventing it from a monolithic dictatorship of uniform and binding rules for each. Amputirovannyj fragment will never return to its original place, if not keep it for formalin scientific study-the remains decomposition. Devils, demons died and other vermin, but their deaths spawned creature still nenasytnee in the service of the letter of the law. Mental illness. Institute of Psychiatry-apparatus exception that society cannot be deleted until it gets rid of the faith in the new demon.

A dozen witnesses watched as police arrived on the scene and removed Pavlensky from the roof. He was taken to Botkin hospital for treatment.

The artist’s lawyer, Dmitry Dinze, described the protest as, “He showed that psychiatry is being used to lock up and make fools of people who do not adhere to standard norms. That’s what this is about.”

Dinze told Rosbalt that Pavlensky has been declared mentally fit and healthy by doctors at the hospital despite earlier reports that he was being held on suspicion of pneumonia.

“Pavlensky has gone through all of the evaluations. There was both a physical and psychiatric evaluation. Pavlensky is completely healthy. He did not contract pneumonia during the protest. His release is currently being discussed,” said Dinze. According Dinze, this is the sixth time, Pavlensky has been declared mentally sound after a psychiatric evaluation.

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