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Pavlensky moved to psychiatric facility after Paris arson stunt

Pavlensky moved to psychiatric facility after Paris arson stunt
Pavlensky in front of burning Bank of France. Image: vorkutakultura / Vkontakte

18 October 2017

Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky has been placed in a psychiatric facility following a stunt in Paris where he set fire to the doors of the Bank of France, according to a report in French newspaper La Figaro.

Oksana Shalygina, Pavlensky’s partner, remains under arrest after the incident that took place in the early hours of Monday morning.

A prominent artist who has recently received asylum in France, Pavlensky is known for his dramatic and often disturbing performances.

The act of arson is reminiscent of his 2015 performance entitled Menace, in which he set fire to the doors of the Moscow headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s domestic intelligence agency. At the time, Pavlensky asked to be charged with terrorism in solidarity with Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, jailed earlier that year amid an international outcry.

Pavlensky has been sent for repeated psychiatric evaluations by Russian prosecutors during court appearances, but each time he has been certified as sane.

In 2014, Pavlensky climbed naked onto the roof of Moscow’s Serbsky psychiatric centre and cut off his earlobe with a large kitchen knife to protest against the forced psychiatric treatment of patients.

Pavlensky left Russia for France in early 2017 after being accused of sexual assault. In a statement about the arson stunt released earlier this week, Pavlensky said “bankers have taken the place of the monarchs” and called for a great French revolution.