Bonnefanten proudly presents Melati Suryodarmo (1969, Surakarta, Indonesia) as the eleventh winner of the Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (BACA).

Melati Suryodarmo, photo: Harry Hartantio

Bonnefanten presents Melati Suryodarmo (1969, Surakarta, Indonesia) as the eleventh winner of the Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (BACA). On 12 June, the museum opens the exhibition I am a Ghost in My Own House, Suryodarmo’s first extensive solo exhibition in Europe and the Netherlands. Suryodarmo is a versatile artist but is mainly known for her compelling performances. In this exhibition, we would like you to meet one of the pioneers of performance art.

Melati Suryodarmo, I’M A GHOST IN MY OWN HOUSE, 2012 Photo Courtesy of the artist. Photographer: Riki Zoelkarnain

Melati Suryodarmo, I am a Ghost in my Own House 2012, video documentation, one-channel HDV,  30m30s. Courtesy of the Artist

The title of the exhibition comes from Suryodarmo's twelve-hour performance I am a Ghost in My Own House. During this performance, Suryodarmo uses a stone mortar to crush charcoal into dust on a table. She literally exhausts herself, but at the same time she also exhausts the energy potential of the charcoal.


Melati Suryodarmo, I am a Ghost in my Own House 2012, video documentation, one-channel HDV, 30m30s. Courtesy of the Artist

“For Suryodarmo, pulverising the charcoal symbolises her tiredness and physical exhaustion, which are coupled with her being uprooted and her return to Indonesia after living in Germany for many years. Hence the title I am a Ghost in My Own House.”

Philippe Pirotte, guest curator

Melati Suryodarmo, Limerence 3, 2018, Charcoal powder on handmade STPI paper. Courtesy of the artist & Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore

The works in the exhibition show the versatility of her artistry. Alongside performances, you also see video installations, photography and drawings. Her work is generally inspired by her performances, where her body and the notion of time are important elements.

Melati Suryodarmo, Limerence 3, 2018, Charcoal powder on handmade STPI paper. Courtesy of the artist & Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore

Melati Suryodarmo, Sweet Dreams Sweet, 2013,
Video documentation, one-channel HD, 17m16s. Courtesy of the Artist

Melati Suryodarmo, HEAD PIECE, 1997, Video in loop, one-channel S-VHS, digitalised, 1m38s. Courtesy of the Artist

Time is essential to her work and the experience of it, as it transforms the performer, the audience and the space. Through aspects of her work like duration, inertia, observation, introspection and interaction, she aims to break through the short attention span of our individual, passive consumerism.

Melati Suryodarmo, TRANSACTION OF HOLLOWS, 2012, Performed at Lilith Performance Studio, Malmø,2012 Photo Courtesy of the artist.

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Melati Suryodarmo: I am a Ghost in My Own House

Bonnefanten proudly presents Melati Suryodarmo (1969, Surakarta, Indonesia) as the eleventh winner of the Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (BACA).

Melati Suryodarmo

Suryodarmo trained at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig, in Germany. A chance encounter brought her into contact with the famous Anzu Furukawa, with whom she studied butoh (a Japanese theatre form that combines different disciplines and techniques, such as dance, performance and movement), following which she took classes in performance art with the renowned Marina Abramović.

Suryodarmo’s performances reflect her own ideas and cultural background, and concern the relationship between the human body, the defining cultural traditions to which the body belongs and the context in which it lives. She focuses on concepts like home, spirituality, family and personal history, interweaving them with socio-political, activist and mainly feminist ideas. Partly as a result of politics and gender discrimination, her work has long gone unnoticed. Through her indefatigable efforts to forge connections between art and artists and society, Suryodarmo has become a key figure in the cultural world of Indonesia. Nowadays, her name is widely known and acknowledged in South-East Asia and elsewhere, yet unaccountably her work has not received a great number of international awards or solo exhibitions.

In agreement with laureate Melati Suryodarmo, Philippe Pirotte (1972, Belgium) was chosen as the guest curator of the exhibition in the Bonnefanten.

Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art – BACA

The BACA is the most important international award of the Netherlands for artists from other geo-cultural regions. In 2022, it is being presented for the eleventh time. The focus on exciting, under-represented art practices that exceed or lie beyond the geographical and/or cultural boundaries of the dominant Western canon is in line with Bonnefanten’s profile. The museum deliberately chooses to collaborate actively with artists and curators who reinforce and underline the diversity of the museum’s programme and collections.

The members of this edition’s jury (in alphabetical order) are: Sadiah Boonstra, independent curator and cultural historian, living in Jakarta, Indonesia; Zoe Butt, artistic director Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Rhana Devenport, Director Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia; Stijn Huijts, director Bonnefanten, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Victoria Noorthoorn, director Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Alia Swastika, director Jogja Biennale Foundation, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Header: Melati Suryodarmo, TRANSACTION OF HOLLOWS, performed at Lilith Performance Studio, Malmø, 2012. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Petter Petterson

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