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Not a genius and villainy: how the actionist Pavlensky turned out to be a vulgar tyrant
9 November 2020, 09:27
Not a genius and villainy: how the actionist Pavlensky turned out to be a vulgar tyrant
All fans of Russian contemporary art, who once supported his radical actions, were involved in the ugly story with the exposure of Pyotr Pavlensky.

Alina Vitukhnovskaya, writer

Scandalous interviews and a book by Oksana Shalygina, a former colleague and friend of Pyotr Pavlensky's, “He didn't hit me in the face, just came out. A story about violence, abuse and liberation. " This is a shocking story about living together with an actionist and a criminal, a sadomasochist and a house tyrant. The fact that something was wrong with the shocking couple could have been understood for a long time, when Oksana told the public a story about how she cut off her finger "as punishment for treason".

“I thought for a long time how I can reconnect the broken connection between reality and my word. And at some point I realized what needed to be done. I chopped off my finger. I set myself such a price for the broken word - two phalanges of the little finger. Then she told Peter. He agreed. So the connection between action and word was restored...”, - writes Oksana.

Quite in the spirit of the yakuza, which cut off the fingers of its adepts for the slightest offense. Only on Russian soil does it look much more savage. If the famous action of Oleg Mavromati, who “crucified” himself, can be regarded as a kind of heroism in art, then, perhaps, in the case of Pyotr Pavlensky we are dealing with ordinary self-mutilation, only framed by a fashionable context.

Everything is correct. There is text (action), and there is context. But in the case of Peter and Oksana, the context is blurring. Household framing eliminates the conceptual message. The question arises - can a person directly influence the context? I think it certainly can. That is, genius and villainy are quite compatible. It's only about the scale of the personality. And I don't find this scale in Pavlensky. If initially, in his actions with setting fire to the door in the FSB reception room and wrapping it with barbed wire, the "artist" declared and proclaimed the ideas of freedom and resistance to the system, now, having become an ordinary everyday hooligan, a semi-legalized maniac (I note that he did not refute the statements of the ex-girlfriend, on the contrary reposted her interview with a playful comment "Absolute evil"), he merged with the very system of violence to the point of confusion, in fact, becoming one of its many elements. The reverse process took place - it was not the artist who influenced the context, but the context on it, making him an accomplice, a commoner.

The Marquis de Sade and Gilles de Ré are also remembered here. I will note "Рussy riot", at one time they were compared with the failed Jeanne d'Arc, but unlike the original, they did not have a "distinguished producer". And who was the producer - and the creator - of the Maid of Orleans Jeanne? In part, this can also be called Gilles de Re - an aristocrat who made the king himself, elevated the Dauphin to the throne and then executed for the mass murder of children and Satanism. But he was also an actor, he also turned his execution into a performance. Obviously, the man worked for the future, his production has been replicated countless times since then. And always sold out. Imitators who came close to the original experienced success, those who copied unsuccessfully failed rightly. But few reached the level of Gilles de Rais himself. This is the essence of the evil face of the modernist aristocracy, the absolute submission of everyone to their will, even to the perverted will. For some reason, Gilles wanted to be executed - this is the path to immortality, both for him and for his heroine, which otherwise no one would remember.

As beautiful as the stories of de Sade and de Ré were, they were contextually relevant exclusively in their historical era, where cruelty, alas, was the norm. Civilization, on the other hand, does not suppose evil as an instrument and opposes it.

All of us were involved in the Pavlensky story. For at first, the majority supported and helped him. Nevertheless, one should not shift the responsibility to all those who sympathized with him. Empathy and trust in him as a person declaring certain ideas is not a crime or even shortsightedness. For to look into his soul or peep through the keyhole, none of us is obliged. Here you can only blame Pavlensky himself, as a person who violated an unspoken social contract. Indeed, declaring and using the values of freedom, you swear not only to them, but to all those who share them.

Most of Oksana's interviews are devoted to the topic of abuse. She tells about her family: “My parents don't know when to stop too. I grew up in an atmosphere where all the time you feel bad, somehow guilty".

We are again dealing with the axiom known to all psychologists that violence in the family, in childhood, entails irreversible mental changes. And, by the way, it doesn't matter which of the two types of violence you were subjected to in childhood - physical or psychological. Both of these forms of violence are likely to lead to the formation of future psychotypes of aggressors and victims, respectively. It is surprising that people who are quite educated fall into this hook. After all, Oksana cannot be called a representative of the lower strata of society. If she is a marginal, it is only of her own free will, and she is in a status, in a kind of “cultural law”.

In general, the story of Pavlensky's girlfriend - tragic and disgusting - about clinical lack of personality, resulting from her inability to endure loneliness. It seems that there is more radicalism in the ability to endure it than in the most radical art, which in this particular case is the reverse side of psychopathology, as, in fact, the relationship of the couple - typical sadomasochism and the triumph of leftism.

“I said and wrote from the very beginning that he was a vulgar man. The information that he is a sadist and a psychopath told me nothing new. His actions are banal and uninteresting, and the artist can be a psychopath. There are many people with personality disorder in art. That's not news", - this is how the artist, theorist, curator, one of the brightest representatives of Moscow actionism Anatoly Osmolovsky spoke about Pavlensky.

Oleg Kulik, a performance artist, artist, also a representative of Moscow Actionism, expresses the opposite point of view:

“I know Oksana and Peter well personally. I love both of them and I don't see the point of sucking a personal, very personal story of great love and painful parting in public. Oksana has acute pain, they are more than just a couple. If you are interested in analyzing her "cry", then look carefully at how she talks about his attitude to other people and especially to children. Peter is the stone of modern art, that personality whose influence is extremely negative. Especially for different groups and individuals of uncommon expression... Influence is generally a personal thing and, as a rule, negative - it shifts us from the usual point of view".

This position also has a right to exist, but I do not share it. Without being a genius, you should not strive to change reality. And the time of evil geniuses and insane professors is over. The civilizational context itself is a changing constructive environment, a kind of collective artificial intelligence that does not need injections of blood and pain of pseudo-passionary deviants.