Life Lessons #2: Melati Suryodarmo & Ming Wong | Teaching Performance Art

Organised as part of AAA’s twentieth anniversary, Life Lessons is a new series that enquires into models for education led by artists. We ask: What was the most influential lesson they learned in school? And how have they, in turn, passed on what they learned about forms of knowledge and care to their students or communities of learners?

Scheduled for spring 2020 to spring 2021, Life Lessons presents online and offline conversations and workshops with artists and art collectives who teach at universities, build educational programmes at arts organisations, and run their own schools. Each session addresses their unique teaching methods.

The second session invites Melati Suryodarmo and Ming Wong, two artists who have been experimenting with forms of teaching performance art in universities, artist-run workshops, and performance art festivals. In this conversation, they discuss their processes as well as the themes, exercises, and methodologies they use to teach this art form, exploring the ways teaching performance art challenges formal art education.

Suryodarmo studied with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, filmmaker Mara Mattuschka, and performance artist Marina Abramović at the Braunschweig University of Art, where she completed her postgraduate study in performance art. Her practice has been influenced by her research into Javanese cultural traditions as much as her formal art education. In 2012, she founded Studio Plesungan in Surakarta, where she leads workshops and performance art festivals for emerging performance artists.

Wong studied Chinese painting at Nanyang Academy of Fine Art in Singapore and worked as a playwright in the local English theatre scene. He later obtained an MFA from Slade School of Art, University College London. His body of work investigates performativity, gender, and identity, and is influenced by the history of cinema and includes research in Hong Kong since the last decade. He taught performance at UdK University of the Arts in Berlin, and in 2019 he joined The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm as Professor of Performance in the Expanded Field.

This series is part of AAA’s ongoing research about the role of artistic pedagogy and art schools in the development of modern and contemporary art in Asia and beyond.

 

Melati Suryodarmo is an artist based in Surakarta, Indonesia. Her physically challenging and long-durational performance art pieces are the result of ongoing research into the movements of the body and its relationship to the self and the world. Suryodarmo has presented her work in various international festivals and exhibitions since 1996. She was appointed as the Artistic Director of JIWA: Jakarta Biennale 2017 and led its curatorial team to present the biennale. Since 2007, she has been organising Undisclosed Territory, an annual performance art event in her hometown Surakarta. Her most recent solo exhibition was organised by Museum MACAN in Jakarta in Spring 2020.

Ming Wong is an artist based in Berlin and Stockholm. He builds layers of cinematic language, social structure, identity, and introspection through his re-telling of world cinema and popular culture in his videos, installations, and performances. His work has been shown recently at Asian Art Biennial, Taichung (2019); Busan Biennale; Dakar Biennale; Dhaka Art Summit; Para Site, Hong Kong; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; and Centre National de la Danse, Paris (2018). He has had solo exhibitions at international institutions, including UCCA, Beijing; Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo; and REDCAT, Los Angeles. He represented Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.

This event is part of the AAA Learning and Participation Programme, supported by the S. H. Ho Foundation Limited and C. K. and Kay Ho Foundation.

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