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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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