The performance artist is known for putting herself in challenging situations. Now, she says, it’s your turn, with a set of instruction cards aiming to ‘reboot your life’

Go into a park, find a tree you like, hold the tree and complain to the tree. This was Marina Abramović’s technique for staying focused during the pandemic. In 2020, she and a group of volunteers tried out this tree-hugging exercise during a five-hour programme on Sky Arts that sought to educate watchers on the history of performance art. Though at times it felt like watching a mockumentary, it was a transformative experience for the participants, according to Abramović. “It was amazing how people got emotional. How much they kept inside, and how talking to the tree [was] a kind of release.”

It’s 11am in New York, where Abramović is based, and she has just finished a morning yoga session. She stretches out her arms, showing me her black fitness top before turning the web camera round to reveal a snowy landscape. “I like to do physical exercise. Walk in the snow. I don’t want to have my life in control. I hate [the] studio. I never go to the studio,” says the 75-year-old artist. “I like to put myself in very uncommon situations.”

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