Stamina is the key to new art exhibition at Ikon on Westside

A major exhibition of ground-breaking performance art is to take place on Westside over the coming months.

Ikon Gallery in Oozells Square, Brindleyplace is hosting the first UK solo show by acclaimed Indonesian artist Melati Suryodarmo, which runs from 17 May to September.

And the exhibition, which occupies both floors of the gallery, will include two amazing live performances by Suryodarmo on 19 and 28 May – one of which will last a full 12 hours!

Suryodarmo is renowned for what is known as ‘durational performances’ that last several hours, testing the limits of the artist’s mind and body.

And the Passionate Pilgrim exhibition at Ikon will feature her longest and most gruelling work.

Entitled I’m a Ghost in My Own House, Suryodarmo will grind blocks of charcoal with a stone rolling pin for 12 hours from 10am to 10pm on 19 May, evoking the coal mining history of the West Midlands.

Afterwards, audiences can see the artist’s blackened dress and charcoal pit, plus a video documentation alongside charcoal rubbings on paper.

Suryodarmo has adapted a second classic piece for Ikon when it debuts the first hybrid performance of Passionate Pilgrim (2010), which she performs on 28 May with the UK-based Voice of Domestic Workers.

For more than two hours, the artist and women from the activist group will move around an installation comprising 100 mirrors while contemplating their reflections and those of the audience.

The work investigates the often-precarious living conditions of South East Asian migrant workers.

As well as the two live performances, the exhibition will include feature films and recorded performances of other works.

There will be various artwork and self-portrait photos of Suryodarmo displayed, plus an image archive exploring the role of photography in performance art.

From 25 May, visitors will be able to view a 12-metre high ‘tree’ adorned with donated clothes from West Midlands-based Collection 4 Clothes.

Solo performers will sit on a hidden perch and hold the multi-coloured structure for three hours on Thursday and Saturday afternoons.

Suryodarmo is based in her hometown of Surakarta having returned to Indonesia in 2014.

Main picture: Melati Suryodarmo: Passionate Pilgrim at Ikon Gallery. Pic credit Celine Larrere

Second photo: Melati Suryodarmo, I’m a Ghost in My Own House at Ikon Gallery. Photo courtesy of the artist

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