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Pyotr Pavlensky, Russia's Controversial Self-Mutilating Artist

If Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky planned to shock the public, his latest stunt can certainly be described as a success. On October 19, Pavlensky stripped naked, climbed onto the roof of Moscow's Serbsky psychiatric center and sliced off his right earlobe with a huge kitchen knife. The stunt, titled "Separation," was meant to denounce Russia's growing use of psychiatry to silence dissidents. Previously, he has wrapped himself naked in barbed wire in front of St. Petersburg's legislature and sewn his lips shut to condemn the prosecution of two members of the opposition punk collective Pussy Riot.

St. Petersburg artist Peter Pavlensky arrives at a police station in Moscow for interrogation in November 2013.
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St. Petersburg artist Peter Pavlensky arrives at a police station in Moscow for interrogation in November 2013.

Pavlensky lies on the ground wrapped in barbed wire during a protest action in St. Petersburg in May 2013 to condemn the prosecution of punk collective Pussy Riot.
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Pavlensky lies on the ground wrapped in barbed wire during a protest action in St. Petersburg in May 2013 to condemn the prosecution of punk collective Pussy Riot.

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WIth U.S. artist David Woinarowicz (left), Pavlensky sews his lips shut as part of another protest in support of Pussy Riot.
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WIth U.S. artist David Woinarowicz (left), Pavlensky sews his lips shut as part of another protest in support of Pussy Riot.

Pavlensky nails his scrotum to cobblestones on Moscow's Red Square to protest the "political indifference" of Russians in November 2013. 
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Pavlensky nails his scrotum to cobblestones on Moscow's Red Square to protest the "political indifference" of Russians in November 2013. 

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During his latest stunt on October 19, 2014,  Pavlensky cuts off his earlobe to protest the forced use of psychiatric treatment against dissidents. 
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During his latest stunt on October 19, 2014,  Pavlensky cuts off his earlobe to protest the forced use of psychiatric treatment against dissidents. 

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