ST. PETERSBURG, February 24 (RIA Novosti) – A performance artist who made international headlines last year by nailing his scrotum to cobblestones on Moscow’s Red Square was detained Sunday for lighting a pyre of car tires in St. Petersburg in a tribute to the unrest that has rocked Ukraine.
Pyotr Pavlensky and two other people were held by police and will face a court hearing Monday, his lawyer Dinar Idrisov told Ekho Moskvy radio station.
Setting the row of tires alight next to the Christ of the Savior on Blood church appears to have been a symbolic imitation of the burning barricades created by anti-government protesters in Ukraine’s capital engaged for weeks in running battles with the police.
Pavlensky and his two accomplices were issued with administrative offense reports for petty hooliganism, Idrisov told RIA Novosti.
In November, Pavlensky awed and horrified people around the world with his scrotum-nailing antics, which he said were a protest against apathy and political indifference in Russian society.
Pavlensky spent a reported 90 minutes sitting naked on the ground near Lenin’s mausoleum, gazing steadily down at his genitals in a performance he titled “Nail.”
Pavlensky has repeatedly used self-mutilation as an artistic medium for politically themed expression.
In 2012, he sewed his mouth shut to express solidarity with jailed members of the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot, and in May he wrapped his naked body in barbed wire outside the parliament building in St. Petersburg to protest what he called the country’s repressive regime.