Yesterday, September 23rd, famed artist Marina Abramović was attacked after an opening event for her retrospective, The Cleaner, at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. While she was signing books in the museum's courtyard, a 51-year-old aspiring artist hit Abramović over the head with a portrait he had painted of her. The man told her that he had to commit the assault "for his art."
"Among the crowd there was a man who was carrying a distorted painting of my face," Abramović told local newspaper La Repubblica, as per ArtNet News. "He approached me looking into my eyes and I smiled at him thinking that it was a gift for me. In a split second I saw his expression change and become violent, coming towards me very quickly and forcefully. The dangers always come very quickly, like death itself."
Abramović, who said she felt "compassion" for her attacker, spoke to the man immediately after, in an attempt to understand why he did it. "For me, it is difficult to understand and process violence," she said. "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."
There is video footage of the incident.
In an Instagram post, Palazzo Strozzi gallery director Arturo Galansino stated that "everything is fine!" and "expressed sorrow" for Abramović's ordeal.
Photo via Getty