„Carrying the Skeleton“ is a continuation of one of her most important performances, „Nude with Skeleton“. In this performance, the artist uses a replica skeleton to symbolize confrontation with death. The work refers in part to an ancient Tibetan tradition in which Buddhist monks meditate on life, death and mortality by sleeping with skeletons of various stages of decomposition on consecutive nights as well as to Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Pietà. Also the video„Self Portrait“ draws from this performance. It is a close-up shot of Abramovic lying with a skull, connected to a skeleton, resting on her face. By pressing her lips against the skull, Abramovic presents the relationship between life and death as intimate, even erotic.
The series called Back to Simplicity, which was realized in Southern Italy specifically in the area of the Ciociaria, is born out of the artist’s need to re-establish contact with nature, in its more genuine and immediate forms, and to go back to an examination of everyday life, its day-to-day pleasures, after the three intensive months of her performance „The Artist Is Present“ at the New York MoMA. It is a recounting by images of peace rediscovered in the folds of simplicity, and in a return to nature as an inevitable necessity.