EVENT10.08.2023 / 4.00pm8.00pm

melissandre varin

Vivid Projects + Ikon Performance Art Laboratory

a rendition of stifled ghost-spells

melissandre varin performs in Vivid Projects + Ikon, a performance art laboratory (10-13 August 2023). For four hours, the artist braids black synthetic hair whilst using molasses as a tool to interact with and transform the space around them. 

This performance draws on the tools gained through participation in Melati Suryodarmo’s performance art laboratory, Present to Presence, at Ikon in May 2023.

From the artist 

In a rendition of stifled ghost-spells, melissandre plays with the (im)possibility to conjure and exorcise intergenerational trauma with small gestures. Approaching the moment as an ana-choreography composed with crumbling building blocks. The performance might emerge as an over-scripted improvisation of Blackness.

“I am feeling very moved to have been invited into what feels like a historic moment for Birmingham and myself included. I am assembling a durational performance invoking braiding as a transmutation tool, small gestures forming everyday rituals, and trans-formation with and of (gallery) space.” melissandre varin 

Presented as part of Melati Suryodarmo’s exhibition Passionate Pilgrim (17 May – 3 September 2023). 

This exhibition is supported by Bagri FoundationBritish Council through the Connections Through Culture grants programmeBirmingham City University, University of Leeds, and the Melati Suryodarmo Exhibition Circle: A.I. GalleryShanghART, Tanya Michele Amador and Michiel Verhoeven; and Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson.

It is developed in collaboration with Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN), Jakarta, Indonesia.

About the artist 

Through performance arts, moving image assemblages and site-specific installations, among other things, melissandre varin investigates love, intimacy and tenderness. Making from an Afro and Caribbean diasporic context, melissandre varin adds layers of complexity using a situated Black feminism. 

Event Date

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Event Details

Events Room, First Floor  

Free entry, donations welcome. 

No need to book, just drop in. 

Suitable for all ages. Seating available. 

Information on Ikon Gallery’s accessibility is available here.

For additional access enquiries please contact education@ikon-gallery.org

This event is being photographed and filmed. Please speak to the photographer or filmmaker if you prefer not to be included.


Ikon Gallery

1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2HS

Image Credits
1. Melissandre Varin, Who's gonna clean the mess of/in your garden?, expandable dimension (2021) installation with black synthetic hair and Melissandre's hair, Grand Union. Photo Credit: Ayesha Jones. 2. Photo Credit: Marley Starskey Butler 3. Photo Credit: Ayesha Jones 4. Photo Credit: Shade Cumini


Read more
Melati Suryodarmo
Passionate Pilgrim
Last week we launched our new exhibition with Melati Suryodarmo, Passionate Pilgrim. Melati Suryodarmo is one of Indonesia’s most important living artists, known for her strenuous durational performances that last several hours, testing the limits of the human mind and body
Events/Talk04.06.2023 / 6.30pm7.30pm
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Melati Suryodarmo and Present to Presence artists 
Panel Discussion
Join Melati Suryodarmo and artists who have participated in the Present to Presence performance art laboratory for a panel discussion, during which they discuss their experience of taking part in the project and their concluding performances.  
See more
Passionate Pilgrim
In summer 2023, Ikon transforms its galleries into a platform for performance art, with the first UK exhibition by acclaimed Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo (b.1969).   

1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace
Birmingham, B1 2HS

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