Dissident Artist Pyotr Pavlensky Found Guilty by Moscow Court
Despite the conviction, he won't serve prison time.
Despite being found guilty of vandalism by a Moscow court, the controversial Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky has dodged a prison sentence. The charges relate to his controversial Freedom (2014) performance, during which the artist set alight tires on a Saint Petersburg Bridge in protest against Russia’s occupation of Crimea.
The artist will remain in custody to face vandalism charges relating to a separate anti-government performance in which he set fire to the door of the Russian intelligence service headquarters.
The artist—known for his extreme and deeply political performances—was originally sentenced to one year and four months behind bars, but avoided serving the sentence because the statute of limitations for criminal responsibility relating the case had expired, according to the Moscow Times.
During the trial, the artist reportedly sat in silence and refused to answer questions because the court dismissed his demand to classify his performances as acts of terrorism. Referring to his he ruling notes the artist’s participation “in a group that violated ethical and moral norms.”
The 32-year-old artist has previously made headlines for cutting off a part of his ear with a kitchen knife while naked, sewing his own mouth shut, nailing his scrotum to the cobblestones of Moscow’s Red Square, and making his interrogator flip. Most recently, he claimed to have been assaulted by prison guards whilst being held captive ahead of his trial.
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.