Melati Suryodarmo, I Love You (2007). Performance. Five hours. Exhibition view: I Love You, ShanghArt Gallery, Beijing (18 April–14 May 2018). Courtesy ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai/Beijing/Singapore.
For acclaimed Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo’s first comprehensive solo exhibition in China, hosted at ShanghArt Beijing, she offered a group of works that represent her two-pronged practice, which comprises photography and durational performance art—the latter being her key pursuit, and the main focus of the show.
The exhibition was split across four areas. Behind the gallery’s reception desk was a triptych of large photographs. In each of these images, Suryodarmo is seen crouching and twisting, while in one, she seems to be shouting. The actions are blurred together in the individual shots, emphasising her movement—the result of the artist’s use of an extended shutter speed. The nondescript, photography studio backdrop to Suryodarmo’s gestures reference the classical portrait genre. In this way, she uses the medium of photography to expand her exploration of performance art; for one, asking: how do sequences of movement communicate and engage? As viewers, we are also left with the question of how her practice can or cannot be situated in Western narratives of art and its history.