He encased himself naked in barbed wire and cut off his earlobe while perched on top of a psychiatric hospital. A St Petersburg native and art school graduate, he gained fame after the trial of the punk protest group Pussy Riot, which he said convinced him of the need for a radical turn in art. Police have been searching for Pavelensky since December after being called to a knife fight and also want to question him over this incident. In his adopted country, he set fire to a Bank of France office and has supported the gilets jaunes protest movement. The woman, named by French media as Alexandra de Taddeo , was taken into custody along with the artist, Petr Pavlensky , on Saturday afternoon as they left a Paris hotel. Detectives arrested the pair after Benjamin Griveaux, a former government minister and Macron ally, lodged a legal complaint following the release of videos of him performing a sex act on himself.