Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky, and his partner, Oksana Shalygina, were charged with destruction of property after Pavlensky set fire to the facade of the Bank of France branch located in Place de la Bastille in Paris on Monday, Anna Codrea-Rado of the New York Times reports.
The thirty-three-year-old artist was first sent to a psychiatric unit but was then placed in pretrial detention on Wednesday. Pavlensky and Shalygina have been living in France since they were granted political asylum there in May. They originally fled Russia after they were accused of rape by a well-known actress in January. Pavlensky has since claimed that these allegations are false and were politically motivated.
Photos of Pavlensky standing in front of the building while it was ablaze circulated on social media on Monday. Activist Inna Shevchenko posted the following quote by the artist on her Twitter account: “The Bastille was destroyed by a people in revolution; the people destroyed its symbol of despotism and power. The Banque de France has taken the place of the Bastille, and bankers have taken the place of monarchs.”