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Melati Suryodarmo, Transaction of Hollows (2018). Performance by the artist at the opening of Timoribus. Courtesy the artist and ShanghART, Singapore.
Melati Suryodarmo's greatest asset is her Javanese dance- and butoh-trained body, the limits of which she explores in durational performances. The latter range from full-sprint displays of power (as in her best-known work, Exegie - Butter Dance, 2000, in which she dances and skids on blocks of butter), to periods of deep meditative surrender (in I'm a Ghost in My Own House, 2012, she grinds down hundreds of kilograms of charcoal over two days). Born in Solo and at one point living and working in Germany for almost 20 years, she mines material that interrogates cross-cultural identities and the female body—although unlike some of her performance-art compatriots, such as the artist-activist Arahmaiani and Heri Dono, her references tend to be abstract, inviting a variety of interpretations in different contexts.
ShanghART Singapore is pleased to present a solo exhibition TIMORIBUS by renowned performance artist Melati Suryodarmo. It is an inaugural comprehensive exhibition in Singapore, will showcase Melati's multidisciplinary approach to art, consisting of a variety of works ranging from photography, videography, to what she is best known for–durational performance. The exhibition opens on Thursday, 25 January 2018 and runs through 25 March 2018, with an accompanying live performance by the artist on 25 and 26 January 2018.
'Timoribus' is a Latin term meaning 'fear.' In Melati's works, body functions as a container of memories and emotions, while the feeling of fear she expressed is often deeply intertwined with human instinct, desire and individual deliberation. Fear stems from the defence mechanisms of the body, as well as the sense of disillusionment with the pursuit of ultimate perfection and immortality. Through her highly physical and often humorously absurd performances, Melati probes to the relationship between the feeling of fear and everyday life, personal experience, political discourse and the mass media.
The title piece Timoribus, is a video installation art work directed by the artist inspired by the recent state of affairs. By tracing back to the history of performance art and experimental video, this work examines the politicised characteristics of artists in Europe during the 1960s and 1970s. To date the world is surrounded by terror and fear of terror at varying scales, from rodent infestation to fatal bombings, which has been given the global context of fear. Even if fear is non-existent, people have found ways to invent its presence in everyday life by the need for security, posterity and preservation, and been pushing to develop technology and innovation all the time. As images production and reproduction gets clearer and faster, the irony is that the speed of how those images are absorbed by the brain confuses it, creating a blur in the mind. The world is clear but the mind is convoluted; all the while fear continues to play a growing part in this post-truth world, shaping our experiences and reality.
Also on exhibition alongside Timoribus will feature videos of her previous performances art pieces, reproducing the complex emotions and body motions of the artists who contingently performed in a specific space and time duration. Melati's performance often conveys great diffuse energy and tension through the transmission of the intense emotions such as the fear of death ('Ugo'), and the anxiety of the unknown ('Sweet Dreams Sweet'), by this way she makes multidimensional communication with the space or the stage, and the audience who physically and psychologically involved between the borders and boundaries.
Compared with the videos, Melati's photography seems to be a silent termination of her performance actions and processes.When all emotions are frozen on the surface of the photos, it forms an atmosphere within and without the images. Her recent photography 'Tomorrow, As Purposed' series, presents the spirit of intense confrontation and personal anxiety with the dynamic and gestures of body, and 'Window' series extends the relationship between 'physical body'/'cultural body' to the 'outer'/'inner', the main 'Self' finalises a distinction out of the fear and resistance to 'the Constitutive Other'.
About Melati Suryodarmo
Melati Suryodarmo (b. 1969) is a visual artist currently based in her hometown, Surakarta, Indonesia, having lived and worked in Germany for 20 years. She graduated with a degree in International Relations from Universitas Padjadjaran Bandung, Indonesia, and went on to pursue a degree in Fine Art at Hochschule fuer Bildende Kuenste, Germany. Studying under the tutelage of renowned Japanese Butoh dancer and choreographer, Anzu Furukawa, and acclaimed pioneering performance artist and professor, Marina Abramovic, Melati eventually finished her post-graduate program in Performance Art while gaining the opportunity to perform alongside Abramovic with a group of students at the 2003 Venice Biennale. Known for her long durational performances, often involving highly physical acts and use of the body to convey her ideas regarding cultural, social, and political issues, Melati has performed across the world for 20 years, in festivals, biennials, galleries, and museums. Notable shows include the 52nd Venice Biennale Dance Festival (2007), Luminato Festival of the Arts (2012), Asia Pacific Triennial 8 (2015), Singapore Biennale (2016), as well as helming the Jakarta Biennale 2017 as the artistic director.
Singapore Established in Singapore in 2012, ShanghART Singapore is ShanghART Gallery's first overseas gallery located in contemporary arts cluster Gillman Barracks.
About ShanghART Gallery
ShanghART Gallery was established in Shanghai in 1996. It has since grown to become one of China's most influential art institutions and a vital player in the development of contemporary art in China, representing over 40 pioneering and emerging Asian artists, including DING Yi, Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL, Xu Zhen - Produced by MadeIn Company, YANG Fudong, and ZENG Fanzhi. Founder Lorenz Helbling is included in ArtReview's 2016 Power 100.
Transaction of Hollows
Performance Dates: 25–26 January, from 5pm–9pm
Exhibition Period: 27 January–25 February 2018
Address: ShanghART Singapore, 9 Lock Road, #02-21, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 108937
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