Melati Suryodarmo's work is the result of ongoing research in the movements of the body and its relationship to the self and the world. These are enshrined in photography, translated into choreographed dances, enacted in video or executed in live performances. Her work is known for long durational performances, influenced by Butoh, dance, and history, among others. By compiling, extracting, conceptualising and translating some of these factors of presence that she recognises into her work, she intends to tease open the fluid border between the body and its environment, expressing her concerns about the cultural, societal, and political dimensions. Suryodarmo has performed across the world for 20 years, in Art Festivals, Biennials and museums. Her works have been collected by many internationally renowned institutions such as Tate Modern, National Gallery of Australia, Singapore Art Museum, and Museum MACAN.
Melati Suryodarmo (b. 1969, Solo, Indonesia) graduated from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunscheweig, Germany under the tutelage of Marina Abramović and Anzu Furukawa with a Meisterschüler qualification in Performance Art. She currently lives and works in Solo, Indonesia. She presented her work in various international festivals and exhibitions, including her first museum solo presentation, Why Let The Chicken Run?, at Museum MACAN, Jakarta, Indonesia (2020-2021), Bangkok Art Biennale 2020: Escape Routes, Bangkok, Thailand (2020); Asia Society Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone, Asia Society Museum, New York, U.S.A. (2020); Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia (2019); Arus Balik – From below the wind to above the wind and back again, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore (2019); Reanacting History: Collective Actions and Everyday Gestures, National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea, Gwacheon, South Korea (2017); SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, National Art Centre Tokyo & Mori Art Museum, Japan (2017); Afterwork, Para Site, Hong Kong (2016); East Asia Feminism: FANTasia, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea (2015); 8th Asia Pacific Triennale, QAGOMA, Queensland, Australia (2015); 1st Asia Biennial & 5th Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China (2015).
Since 2007, Suryodarmo has been organizing an annual Performance Art Laboratory and Undisclosed Territory, a performance art festival, in Solo, Indonesia. In 2012, she founded Studio Plesungan, an art space for performance artists to use as a laboratory. In 2017, she served as Artistic Director for the JIWA: Jakarta Biennale 2017. She was a finalist in the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2014 and is awarded the Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (BACA) in 2022.