Pin It
Marina Abramović: Early Works
Portrait of Marina Abramović, 2014Photography: © Nils Müller and Wertical. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives and Sean Kelly, New York

A man attacked Marina Abramović and said he did it for art

The artist was hit on the head with a painting of herself by her assailant in a Florence gallery

On Sunday, Marina Abramović was attacked by a man at a book signing in Italy. The assailant approached the artist with a portrait of herself, and smacked her over the head with it.

As the New York Times reports, Abramović was leaving the event at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence when the man approached her with a “distorted” painting of herself she thought was meant as a gift. The artist said of the incident: “He came forward, staring me straight in the eyes and I smiled thinking that it was a present for me. In a fraction of a second I saw his expression change and become violent. You know, danger always comes very quickly, like death.”

The man who attacked her has been identified as Vaclav Pisvejc, a 51-year-old Czech national who is living in Florence as an artist. The local mayor claims he is known for similar incidents. Some of the incident was captured on video.

Abramović was “stunned by unhurt” in the assault. refused to press charges and instead asked to speak to Pisvejc, who allegedly told her he had to do it “for my art”.

“For me, it is difficult to understand and process violence,” Abramović told Italian newspaper La Repubblica. “Violence against others doesn’t make art. I was also a young artist who was not famous, but I have never hurt anyone. In my work I stage different situations and put my life at risk. But this is my decision and I set the conditions.”

The pioneering performance artist was there to celebrate a retrospective exhibition of her work, The Cleaner, and she was signing copies of Marina Abramović: Interviews 1976-2018.