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Marina Abramovic Helped Lady Gaga Manage Stress by Making Her Separate Seeds for Four Hours

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Marina Abramovic attends the Glamour Magazine 23rd annual Women Of The Year gala on November 11, 2013 in New York, United States. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
Marina Abramovic. Photo: Paul Zimmerman/2013 Paul Zimmerman

At Lady Gaga’s #ArtRave over the weekend, guests could watch footage of the pop star practicing Marina Abramovic’s “Abramovic method” (which includes slow walking exercises, among other things). At last night’s Glamour Women of the Year Awards, we asked Abramovic — who was there to present Gaga with the “Monster Talent” award — how the two even teamed up. “This summer Gaga came and asked if she could be my student and if I could teach her the Abramovic Method, because she was losing her center with the pressure of everything around her,” Abramovic told us. “She doesn’t believe in doctors and therapists, so she reached out to an artist to help her.” They embarked on a four-day workshop, practicing a variety of exercises, each for four hours at a time. It was “really hardcore,” Abramovic says. “She integrates what I’ve taught her into her work now. Yesterday at the rave, she did the slow-motion walk with the breathing exercises.” But that’s not the most out-there thing they practiced, not by far.

“One of the most insane exercises was, I gave her one pound of rice and one pound of lentil seeds,” Abramovic said. “You mix them together, and then you divide them and count each one. She did this for four hours. It looks like a stupid thing full of repetition, but it has everything to do with self-control, with concentration, with state of mind. It’s to see if you can focus on one matter for a long period of time. It says everything about you — what is your patience level and so on. Other exercises are drinking water slowly and consciously, walking with your eyes closed, sitting in nature and listening to the sound of water. Another one is hugging a tree and complaining for fifteen minutes or more to the tree.” Oh God, that poor tree.

How Marina Abramovic Helped Gaga Manage Stress