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A man has attacked Marina Abramović as she left an Italian art gallery.

Artist Abramović, leaving an event at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, was approached by a man who then hit her over the head with a ‘distorted’ painting of herself.

“He came forward, staring me straight in the eyes and I smiled thinking that it was a present for me,” Abramović told the press after the incident. “In a fraction of a second I saw his expression change and become violent. You know, danger always comes very quickly, like death,” she added.

The man was quickly identified as Vaclav Pisvejc, a 51-year-old Czech national living in Florence as an artist. According to the locals, Pisvejc is well known for having committed similar incidents.

Despite being “stunned” by the assault, Abramović refused to press charges against the man and instead approached him to ask for an explanation. His response, apparently, was to tellAbramović he did it “for my art”.

“For me, it is difficult to understand and process violence,” Abramović 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.”

Some of the incident was caught on camera:

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