Officers initially suspected the woman had suffered 'a heart attack or overdosed.'
Many of us have gotten a little spooked when walking past realistic-looking mannequins in the mall. In a hilarious incident that's not so different from this common phenomenon, the London police leaped into action when they mistook a realistic structure for an actual person in need of help, reports PEOPLE. Cops reportedly busted down the doors of Laz Emporium in November 2022 after discovering "an unconscious woman slumped over a table in the locked-up gallery."
We doff our caps to the two London police officers who smashed down the doors of a small art gallery to rescue a woman who appeared to have collapsed and drowned in a bowl of soup. The bobbies on the beat were following up reports that the stricken wom... https://t.co/3PtEyNEgRw— The Register: Summary (@_TheRegister) December 14, 2022
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said they got a complaint on the night of November 25 regarding "concerns for the welfare of a person at a locked business." According to them, police have a "duty of care to respond when there are welfare concern(s)." Once inside, however, investigators learned that the lady was an artwork commissioned by the gallery's owner, Steve Lazarides. The "Kristina" sculpture portrays Lazarides' sister passed out with her face in a bowl of soup.
Lazarides stated that when police officers arrived at the location in response to the complaint, a gallery employee "had just locked up and gone upstairs to make a cup of tea." The owner said: "She came down to find the door off its hinges and two confused police officers!" The employee, Hannah Blakemore, told Artnet News that police told her that "somebody reported that the woman here has not been moving for the last two hours." Officers suspected the woman suffered "a heart attack or overdosed."
This wasn't the first time the sculpture stirred up chaos and confusion. Blakemore revealed that while the artwork was on show at a London event in October, paramedics were summoned to help the "woman." The employee said: "The work is to provoke and it's definitely achieving that."
The artwork—by American artist Mark Jenkins—is composed of packing tape and foam filler, according to the gallery. Lazarides reportedly "commissioned the talking-point piece to sit at any dining table they were selling" in the exhibition. Jenkins told Insider that he has had many instances of people mistaking his art for real people, but has never heard of somebody breaking into a private area, much alone an art gallery, because of his work. He said, "I wondered if the police were going to pay for the door."
London Cops Bust into Art Gallery to Rescue an Unconscious Woman — But It Was Actually a Sculpture https://t.co/mR22kEdztc— MSN (@MSN) December 15, 2022
Although the artwork is currently not for sale, if it were to ever be sold, it would reportedly cost about $22,000. "Kristina" will be on display at Laz Emporium until December 24, 2022. In another hilarious incident involving art, a Russian art gallery guard was charged with vandalism after he allegedly sketched eyeballs with a ballpoint pen on an avant-garde picture from the 1930s.
The "bored" security officer added his own improvements to Soviet artist Anna Leporskaya's "Three Figures," which was on display as part of an abstract art show at the Boris Yeltsin Center in Ekaterinburg, Russia. After attendees reported "small, crudely rendered eyes scribbled on two of the painting's figures in ballpoint pen," the painting was taken from the show and returned to the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, which had loaned the priceless artwork, for repair.