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the artist who nailed his scrotum to red square is doing an exhibition with pussy riot

Art Riot: Post-Soviet Actionism will present protest art from Russian and Ukrainian activists, including Pussy Riot and Pyotr Pavlensky, at the Saatchi Gallery in London.

by Charlotte Gush
|
02 October 2017, 3:04pm

Fixation by Pyotr Pavlensky. Courtesy Saatchi Gallery

The first ever exhibition of work by the radical Russian protest artists Pussy Riot and Pyotr Pavlensky has been announced by London's Saatchi Gallery, in partnership with the Tsukanov Family Foundation (who own the largest collection of post-war Russian art).

Opening on 16 November, Art Riot: Post-Soviet Actionism will present art by prominent Russian and Ukrainian protest artists from the past 25 years, including performance artists Pussy Riot, whose Punk Prayer performance protesting church complicity in government oppression saw them imprisoned in remote manual labour camps, and Pyotr Pavlensky, who sewed his mouth shut in response to Pussy Riot's arrest (Stitch), appeared naked in a tunnel of barbed wire to protest repressive laws (Carcass), and nailed his scrotum to Red Square as "a metaphor for the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of modern Russian society" (Fixation).

Pussy Riot's Masha Alyokhina will stage a protest performance at the opening of the exhibition. Fellow member Nadya Tolokonnikova will present Inside Pussy Riot, an immersive theatre experience created with theatre group Les Enfant Terribles. The performance will take audiences inside their 2012 Punk Prayer performance in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior, their subsequent arrest, and "exactly what Pussy Riot went through" during their imprisonment, revealing "what prison, prosecution of political activists and police oppression looks like," the BBC report.

Other artists in the group show include Oleg Kulik, Blue Noses Art Group, Arsen Savadov, AES + F, and Vasily Slonov. It will include protest posters, slogans, video art, staged photography and performance pieces. "These practices are in response to a crisis where artists face shrinking freedom yet have an even more urgent need for expression," a statement from the gallery notes.

Art Riot: Post-Soviet Actionism is at Saatchi Gallery in London from 16 November to 31 December. Inside Pussy Riot will run from 14 November to 24 December.