Melati Suryodarmo is one of Indonesia’s internationally acclaimed performance artists. Why Let the Chicken Run? is on view from 28 February to 31 May 2020 and presents significant works from over 20 years of art practice including scheduled live performances, photography and video performances, and historical documentation.

Why Let the Chicken Run? traces Melati Suryodarmo’s artistic practice through the presentation of her incredible long-durational performance pieces that range from 3 to 12 hours in duration. Through these long-durational works such as I’m A Ghost in My Own House (2012) and The Black Ball (2005), the artist challenges her body physically and psychologically in a personal pursuit of a deeper spiritual consciousness of the self.

The exhibition also presents key artistic influences and a selection of her personal archive to illustrate Suryodarmo’s fascinating creative process. Her practice is largely influenced by Butoh, and her formal art education in Europe alongside Javanese cultural traditions.

Melati Suryodarmo, born in 1969, is a performance artist based in Surakarta, Indonesia. She graduated from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig, Germany with a Meisterschüler qualification in Performance Art in 2003.

Her physically-challenging and long-durational performance art pieces are the result of ongoing research in the movements of the body and its relationship to the self and the world. Melati Suryodarmo has presented her work in various international festivals and exhibitions. In 2017, she was appointed as the Artistic Director of Jakarta Biennale and led its curatorial team to presented JIWA as a concept for the biennale. Since 2007, she has been organizing Undisclosed Territory, an annual performance art event in her hometown Surakarta, Indonesia.