Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich has only been a performance artist for about six years. Yet, his interactive and thought provoking pieces have brought him to places like Art Basel Miami Beach, FAENA Art Center in Buenos Aires, Istanbul Biennale in Turkey and he has worked with industry leaders like Hans Ulrich Obrist, Klaus Biesenbach and Marina Abramovic. Despite his young career, the artist presented a collection of his six most notorious performances at Meyerhold Center in Moscow last week.
“It’s not a retrospective, it’s too early for that,” he says, sitting in the window of his studio in Moscow. Cats are playing outside the window and at one time the artist replies to a meow with a friendly hiss. “I really feel that my work needs a certain summary and that’s what I did Friday. It’s probably more important for myself than the audience.”
Born in Moscow in 1976, the artist now splits his time between his birthplace, London and Sao Paolo. He has an MA in literature and journalism from Moscow University, which goes perfectly with his reoccurring theme of the relationship between the hidden and the exposed. He also runs a gallery, writes and is theater director.
Although he doesn’t see himself as a provocative person, he does agree that some of his characters can be quite “distressing.” “Most of my works are participatory so I need my audience to become part of it. And of course when you ask a stranger to give something that they own—a belonging—and there’s a risk that they won’t get it back, that makes it provocative,” he says, including that provocation can become “a makeup for art.”
The Uglygod, a performance he created for Moscow Biennale in 2011, has Pavlov-Andreevich completely covered in a wood-like suit with a “midget” hanging from his midsection. He takes directions from his “attachment” who then continuous to yell abuses at the audience and his “host.” Unlike the artist himself, the invasive character is quite intimidating (and made at least one little girl scream in fear). “This is the way I speak to the audience. It’s a dialogue that doesn’t have to be spoken,” Pavlov-Andreevich says.
“The audience will clearly see the connection between the performances. They are all about love. Artists need love from their audience,” Pavlov-Andreevich says, describing the collection. The audience is invited on a guided tour through the universe of the complex artist. “Marina Abramovic told me many times that it is important to fail. For me, the most important part is that I know how to continue. It’s all about interconnecting the works.”