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Russian artist Petr Pavlensky sets fire to Paris bank

The radical artist, who nailed his scrotum to the Red Square and sewed his lips shut in political protest, has been arrested for arson

Political performance artist Petr Pavlensky (also known as Pyotr) has been detained by police in Paris after setting fire to the Bank of France.

Pavlensky, an anti-Kremlin protester, gained notoriety after nailing his scrotum to the cobblestones of Moscow's Red Square, challenging state control and surveillance. He has also previously sewn his lips shut to protest Pussy Riot's incarceration, and wrapped himself in barbed wire outside the Legislative Assembly of St Petersburg.

The Russian artist and his partner had recently been granted asylum by France – the Washington Post reports that he was accused of rape in January by a member of political theatre group Teatr.doc and denies allegations.

In 2015, Russia arrested and fined him for an arson attack on the Federal Security Service building, according to the Moscow Times. He spent seven months in prison awaiting trial before he was freed in June of that year.

Pavlensky set fire to the front doors of the Bank of France’s Paris branch in the early hours of Monday (October 16).