History of Literature







Russian literature


 


Dmitry Prigov





Dmitri Aleksandrovich Prigov (Cyrillic: Дми́трий Алекса́ндрович При́гов) (5 November 1940 – 16 July 2007) was a Russian writer and artist. Prigov was a dissident during the era of the Soviet Union and was briefly sent to a psychiatric hospital in 1986.

 

Early life and career
Born in Moscow, Russian SFSR, Prigov started writing poetry as a teenager. He was trained as a sculptor, however, at the Stroganov Art Institute in Moscow and later worked as an architect as well as designing sculptures for municipal parks.

Artistic career
Prigov and his friend Lev Rubinstein were leaders of the conceptual art school started in the 1960s viewing performance as a form of art. He was also known for writing verse on tin cans.[

He was a prolific poet having written nearly 36,000 poems by 2005. For most of the Soviet Era, his poetry was distributed as Samizdat circulating underground with his poetry not being officially published until the end of the Communist era. His work was widely published in émigré publications and Slavic studies journals well before it was officially distribute.

In 1986, the K.G.B arrested Prigov, who performed a street action with handing poetic texts down to passers-by, and sent him to a psychiatric institution before he was freed after protests by poets such as Bella Akhmadulina.

From 1987 he started to be published and exhibited officially, and in 1991 he joined the Writers’ Union, whereas he was a member of the Artists’ Union from 1975.

Prigov took part in an exhibition in the USSR in 1987: his works were presented in the framework of the Moscow projects “Unofficial Art” and “Modern Art”. In 1988 his personal exhibition took place in the USA, in Struve’s Gallery in Chicago. Afterwards his works were many times exhibited in Russia and abroad.

Prigov also wrote the novels Live in Moscow and Only My Japan, and was an artist with works at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. He had many strings to his bow writing plays and essays, creating drawings, video art and installations and even performing music.

Prigov, together with philosopher Mikhail Epstein, is credited with introducing the concept of "new sincerity" (novaia iskrennost' ) as a response to the dominant sense of absurdity in late Soviet and post-Soviet culture. Prigov referred to a "shimmering aesthetics" that (as explained by Epstein) "is defined not by the sincerity of the author or the quotedness of his style, but by the mutual interaction of the two."

In 1993 Prigov was awarded Pushkin Prize of Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. and in 2002 he won Boris Pasternak Prize.

Dmitri Prigov died from a heart attack in 2007, aged 66, in Moscow. He had been planning an event where he would sit in a wardrobe reading poetry while being carried up 22 flights of stairs at Moscow State University.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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