S.E.A. Focus 2024Artspace @HeluTrans, Singapore19 - 28 January 2024
ROH S.E.A. Focus 2024

ROH is pleased to share its participation at S.E.A. Focus 2024: Serial and Massively Parallel, exhibiting a solo presentation of Yogyakarta-based artist, Mella Jaarsma, Because Things Will Change.

For this presentation, Jaarsma (b. 1960, Emmeloord, The Netherlands) has made a unique series of eight masks that represent the multiple strata of time and imagining of what may be ahead of us. Only one mask is visible in this exhibition in 2024 and to be held by a performer. After eight years or a windu in the Javanese calendar, the second mask (2032) will be opened, performed and exhibited with the costumes. This will continue for the next 8 windus until all the masks are unveiled in 2080. The windu is utilized as the construct for determining the timing for the performances to come as it relates to a different, ancient manner of measuring time. Different generations will wear costumes and masks at different times. Whoever wears it, or looks at it, imprints an imagination about the future. The instructions embedded in activating the installation until 2080 carries with it an aspiration that the work will continue to be considered, reconsidered, and remembered in a multitude of manners.

ROH S.E.A. Focus 2024

Born 1960, Emmeloord, The Netherlands
Lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Mella Jaarsma is an artist who has become known for her complex custom installations and her focus on forms of cultural and racial diversity embedded within clothing, the body, and food. She studied visual art at Minerva Academy in Groningen (1978-1984), after which she left the Netherlands to study at the Art Institute of Jakarta (1984) and at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta (1985-1986). She has lived and worked in Indonesia ever since. In 1988, she co-founded Cemeti Art House, now called Cemeti Institute for Art & Society together with Nindityo Adipurnomo, which to this day remains an important platform for young artists and art workers in the country and region.

Mella Jaarsma’s works have been presented widely in exhibitions and art events in Indonesia and around the globe. Selected solo exhibitions include Performing Artifacts: Objects in Question at ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia (2022); The Size of Rice at A+ Works of Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2021); Bolak Balik at Jendela Art Space, Esplanade, Singapore (2017); Potong Waktu at Nadi Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia (2014); Truth, Lies and Senses at Lawangwangi Creative Space, Bandung, Indonesia (2012); The Fitting Room at National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia and Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia (2009). Selected group exhibitions include Visaraloka, part of the Indonesia Bertutur Festival at Museum H. Widayat, Magelang, Indonesia (2022); Indonesian Women Artists #3: Infusions into Contemporary Art (2022), National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia; Bayang at South South Veza with ROH (2021); Setouchi Triennale at Ibuki Island, Japan (2019); The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030-2100 at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia (2019); Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia at National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia (2019); Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now at Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (2019) and National Art Center Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan (2017); 20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here - it’s not just evenly distributed at Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (2016); The Roving Eye at Arter, Istanbul, Turkey (2014); Jakarta Biennale: Siasat at Museum of Ceramics and Fine Arts, Jakarta, Indonesia (2013); Sip! Indonesian Art Today at ARNDT Berlin, Berlin, Germany and ARNDT Singapore, Singapore (2013); Suspended Histories at Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2013); Singapore Biennale at Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2011); Aware: Art Fashion Identity at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2010); RE-Addressing Identities at Katonah Museum, New York, USA (2009); Fashion Accidentally at Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan (2007); Yokohama Triennial, Japan (2005); and many others. Her work is part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum, Singapore among others.

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Photography by The Artist and S.E.A. Focus

Courtesy of The Artist and ROH