Melati Suryodarmo (b. 1969, Surakata, Indonesia) studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig, Germany under Marina Abramović from 1994 to 2003. As a performance artist, Suryodarmo explores the relationship between a human body, the culture to which it belongs, and a constellation where it lives. She is concerned with the cultural, social and political and articulates these concerns through her psychological and physical body. Through her physical presence and artistic expression, Suryodarmo touches upon themes of identity, energy, body politics and the experience of environments.
Suryodarmo draws inspiration from her experiences in the world. While people may communicate verbally, she also perceives that there is un-verbalised communication. This method of communication opens the door to the different forms of perception. People receive these inputs from the world through their individual sensory systems, processing them differently from the next person. The mind’s freedom to interpret these inputs is a fascinating area of research for Suryodarmo. Through her work, she attempts to push through the experience of everyday encounters and present cultural and political encounters that would stimulate the discovery of new identification. To do so, Suryodarmo creates a concentrated level of nervous intensity, a bodily experience that does not have any narrative. Often, this also results in a level of factual absurdity in the performance, which is acknowledged and welcome in Suryodarmo’s work.
Since 1996, she has presented her work in various international festivals and exhibitions, including Marking the Territory (2003), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; Räume und Schatten (2005), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany; Erotic Body (2007), 52nd Venice Biennale Dance Festival, Venice, Italy; Manifesta7 (2008), Bolzano, Italy; Medium at Large (2014), Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; and FantAsia (2015), Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea and 8th Asia Pacific Triennale (2015), QAGOMA, Queensland, Australia. Suryodarmo currently lives and works between Gross Gleidingen, Germany and Surakarta, Indonesia.
Since 2007, Suryodarmo has been organizing an annual Performance Art Laboratory and Undisclosed Territory, a performance art event, in Surakarta, Indonesia. In 2012, she also founded “Studio Plesungan”, an art space for performance artists to use as a laboratory.