A Russian conceptual artist known for his extreme political protests shocked tourists visiting Moscow's Red Square yestersay by nailing his scrotum to the cobblestone pavement as part of a protest marking Russia's annual Police Day.

Petr Pavlensky (also Peter or Pyotr) first gained international attention after he sewed his mouth shut following the arrest of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot.

He followed that up several months later with a protest he dubbed "Carcass," which involved him being wrapped in a "multilayered cocoon of barbed wire," and "laying still in a half-bent position" outside the building that houses the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg.

His latest political action, called "Nail," saw Pavlensky sit down naked in front of Lenin's Mausoleum and proceed to strike a large nail directly into his scrotum, attaching himself to the stone street below.

Emergency services were soon called to the scene, and Pavlensky's performance was dismantled using a claw hammer.

The artist was arrested and taken to the hospital where he declined to be admitted.

He later released a statement to the press saying his act "can be seen as a metaphor for the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of contemporary Russian society."

He continued:

As the government turns the country into one big prison, stealing from the people and using the money to grow and enrich the police apparatus and other repressive structures, society is allowing this, and forgetting its numerical advantage, is bringing the triumph of the police state closer by its inaction.

The video below contains graphic footage of Pavlensky's performance and is therefore very much NSFW/L:

[There was a video here]

[screengrab, video via grani.ru]