Pyotr Pavlensky in front of the Bank in France in Paris. Photo: Twitter @capucinema

Pyotr Pavlensky Arrested for Setting Fire to Paris Bank

Dissident Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky, known for his radical performance art, was arrested in Paris on charges of arson after he set the facade of one of the branches of the Bank of France on fire early Monday morning, the Moscow Times reports. If he is charged with the crime, Pavlensky may face deportation from France.

The artist has been living in France since he was granted asylum there earlier this year. Pavlensky fled Russia with his family after he and his partner, Oksana Shalygina, were accused of sexual assault by actress Anastasia Slonina. The artist claims that the allegations are false and that the case is the Russian government’s way of forcing him to leave the country.

According to photographer Capucine Henry, who shared a photo of Pavlensky standing in front of the fire on her Twitter feed, the artist was detained by the authorities at 4:10 AM. Activist Sarah Constantin, who also witnessed the performance, reported that the artist said, “The revival of revolutionary France will trigger the global fire of revolutions.”

Pavlensky had previously been found guilty of vandalizing a cultural heritage site in 2015 after he set fire to the doors of Lubyanka’s Federal Security Service headquarters in Moscow for a performance titled Threat. He was released from prison after seven months of incarceration and was ordered to pay a fine of $7,800.