In France Russian artist in 'psychiatric unit' after Paris bank blaze

Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky, arrested for torching a Paris branch of France's central bank, has been admitted to a police psychiatric unit, a legal source said Wednesday.

  • Published:
Controversial Russian artists Pyotr Pavlensky is best known for having nailed his scrotum to Red Square to denounce Russian state power in 2013 play

Controversial Russian artists Pyotr Pavlensky is best known for having nailed his scrotum to Red Square to denounce Russian state power in 2013

(AFP)
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky, arrested for torching a Paris branch of France's central bank, has been admitted to a police psychiatric unit, a legal source said Wednesday.

Pavlensky, who is best known for having nailed his scrotum to Red Square to denounce Russian state power in 2013, carried out the stunt in the early hours of Monday.

After being taken into custody he was transferred to a police psychiatric unit on Tuesday, the source told AFP.

Pavlensky's partner Oksana Shalygina, who was arrested with him, is set to appear before a magistrate on Wednesday after being accused of causing "damage by fire".

Pavlensky, 33, is under observation and could be cleared to be taken into custody once again and questioned by a magistrate, the source said.

Photos on social media showed a black-clad Pavlensky standing in front of the shuttered front door of a Banque de France branch in Paris's Bastille Square, with fires consuming two windows on either side of him.

Pavlensky gained a reputation for challenging Russian restrictions on political freedoms in radical, often painful performances that have won international acclaim.

While best known for his 2013 Red Square performance entitled "Fixation", he also sewed his lips together to protest against the jailing of members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot.

He has also wrapped himself in barbed wire and chopped off part of his ear.

In November 2015, he doused the doors of the FSB -- the successor to the Cold War-era KGB, or secret police -- in petrol and set them on fire.

After the FSB stunt, Pavlensky was handed a fine of 500,000 rubles ($8,700, 7,400 euros) and released after being found guilty of damaging a cultural site.

Pavlensky spent a month last year in a notorious Russian psychiatric hospital undergoing state-ordered tests that found him sound of mind.

France granted him and Shalygina asylum in May this year.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.