Piotr Pavlenski, 35, is a character who will at least be described as complex and excessive. The artist-activist known in Russia for several painful political performances, where he sewed his mouth in support of the Pussy Riot and nailed the scrotum to the cobblestones of Red Square, has lived in France for more than three years. We met him in October 2016, for a portrait, on the occasion of the French release of his book the Pavlenski case, politics as art.
At the time, this son of a father who died of alcoholism and a mother who was a psychiatric nurse still lived in Moscow, where he was interned in asylum, but where no expert opinion declared him mad. He left the city in disaster in December 2016, after being accused, with his partner, of sexual assault by a young actress. Screaming at the set-up and the persecution for political reasons, the couple took refuge in Paris. Initially hosted by the Globe’s Russian-language bookstore in the Marais
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