Figures of Silence
Fr 27th November 18:30 Exhibition Opening 19:00 Talk between Oksana Shalygina (complice of Pjotr Pawlenski), Dimitri Dense (lawyer of Pawlenski), Ted Gaier (german musician and activist) and Jens Dietrich (curator NORDWIND)
Images of Pawlenski’s activism have gone around the world: he sewed his mouth shut, nailed his testicles to the Red Square, and cut off an earlobe on the wall of the Serbsky Center. His first ever retrospective will be on view in Hamburg. His performances are both drastic and planned out in great detail, while remaining radically simple in their structure. Russian courts, media and the public are consistently outraged, and their responses become part of Pawlenski’s art. A dialogue between artistic action and the institutions of power develops. In contrast to many Russian artists that seem to be overwhelmed by the political developments and increasing repression, Pawlenski remains an activist. He forces the judiciary and the police into positions outside the standard catalogue of reactions. Recently, Pawlenski persuaded an investigator to change sides. Pawel Jasman had interrogated Pawlenski about his action »Freedom« over a period of four months. Pawlenski secretly recorded the interviews and published them in several magazines, including Der Spiegel printed the transcript. Pawlenski argues in one interview: »You agree with me that you are merely an instrument. The government turns people into instruments.« Jasman answers: »I agree with that.« He has already studied law and became a lawyer. Moreover, he wanted to become a lawyer in the Pavlensky court case, but the judge banned him from legal defense. The retrospective, in which videos of Pawlenski’s actions, images, documents and the reactions of media and jurisprudence will be shown, reveals a divided country, where state-influenced institutions and a critical minority are irreconcilably opposed. The artworks pose questions about the relationship between power, suppression and opposition, about propaganda and the influence of images. They speak for a concept of freedom which is not seen as an absolute state, but which can exist only as action in a certain context.