Performance artist Marina Abramovic was attacked at her own book signing over the weekend, and the assailant used a painting of Abramovic as a weapon, according to the New York Times.
Abramovic, a noted performance artist, was signing copies of her book, “Marina Abramovic Interviews 1976-2018,” at a museum in Florence, Italy on Sunday when the event briefly turned violent. A man, later identified as artist Vaclav Pisvejc, approached Abramovic with a painting he’d done of her, only to smash it over her head, the New York Times reports. In video of the violent encounter, the man can be seen bringing the painting down on Abramovic, shocking the crowd.
In a statement issued by the museum and obtained by The Times, Abramovic described the incident as something that happened very quickly.
“He came forward, staring me straight in the eyes and I smiled thinking that it was a present for me,” she said. “In a fraction of a second I saw his expression change and become violent. You know, danger always comes very quickly, like death.”
Following the attack, museum security quickly subdued Pisvejc, according to The Times. Abramovic has reportedly opted not to press charges. When she later confronted her attacker and asked why he’d done what he’d done, he reportedly responded, “I had to do it for my art.”
According to Abramovic’s statement, she told him in response, “You don’t make art through violence against others. I was also a young, not famous artist, but I never hurt anyone.”
Pisvejc apparently has a history of committing disruptive acts in the name of “art,” having stripped naked in public multiple times, seemingly as a type of performance art.
[Photo: Marina Abramovic attends the 2018 MoMA Party In The Garden at Museum of Modern Art on May 31, 2018 in New York City. By Paul Zimmerman/WireImage via Getty Images]