Mella Jaarsma



Costume, Sculpture

Mella Jaarsma

Born in 1960, Emmeloord, Netherlands
Lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia since 1984.

Mella Jaarsma was born in Emmeloord, the Netherlands at 9th October 1960. She grew up in Netherlands and studied visual art at 'Minerva' Academy, Groningen (1978–1984), after which she left the Netherlands to study at the IKJ (Art Institute of Jakarta, 1984), Jakarta and at ISI ( Indonesia Institute of the Arts, 1985–1986), Yogyakarta and stayed ever since in Indonesia. Her work has been presented widely in exhibitions in Indonesia as well as in international art events.

In 1988, together with her partner Nindityo Adipurnomo she founded the Cemeti Gallery in Yogyakarta, which since 1999 has changed into Cemeti Art House, organizing exhibitions, projects and residencies. Since 1995 she also has been active as a board member at the Cemeti Art Foundation – Yogyakarta, currently changed into the Indonesia Visual Art Archive – IVAA. She gives workshops and lectures in Indonesia as well as abroad; at Duta Wacana University – Yogyakarta, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum – Fukuoka, Griffith University – Gold Coast, The Substation – Singapore, Lasallesia College of the Arts – Singapore, Rietveld Academy – Amsterdam, etc.

Artist statment:

I like to work with clothing and I see my works as bodily modifications of the social space in between layers of skin, clothing, sartorial inhibition and housing/architecture. We are like impermanent buildings with a façade of which the inside is changeable. The second skin that we wear is like a house in which we can appear and hide; we have to be ready to leave or inhabit it.

Everyone who confronts my work relates to it from their particular background, culture and personality, and therefore experiences the work in different ways. I want my work to relate to these specific audiences, to address some of their taboos and interpretations.

I like to confront the public with my work while it is being worn by life models, questioning the positioning of the self and the other. My works are a comment on the human fascination of “showing” and “showing off”. How did we view others in the past -for example the world exhibitions that took place in Europe in the 1900s where people from other cultures became exotic amusements- and how do we look at others in the present?

Solo Exhibitions:

  • 2019. ‘In Ravel Out’, ResArtis Project Space, Melbourne, Australia
    ‘The Carrier’, presented by A+ art Malaysian Art Expo, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 2018. ‘Re-Play #8’, OFCA, Sarong Building, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2017. ‘Bolak Balik’ Jendela Art Space, Esplanade, Singapore
  • 2016. ‘Carrier’ Baik Art, Los Angeles, USA
  • 2016. ‘Carrier’, LA Art Show, Los Angeles, USA
  • 2015. ‘Lari’, Embun Gallery, Medan, Indonesia (together with Nindityo Adipurnomo)
  • 2014. ‘Potong Waktu’, Nadi Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2013. ‘Male Energy / Tenaga LakiLaki’, Jatiwangi Art Factory, Jatiwangi, Indonesia
  • 2012. ‘Truth, Lies and Senses’, Lawangwangi Creative Space, Bandung, Indonesia
  • 2012. ‘Toekar Tambah’, with Nindityo Adipurnomo at Semarang Gallery, Semarang, Indonesia
  • 2009. The Fitting Room. Bandung: Selasar Sunaryo Art Space.
  • 2009. The Fitting Room. Jakarta: National Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2009. Zipper Zone. Bandung: S 14. Indonesia.
  • 2006. De Meeloper / The Follower. Artoteek Den Haag, The Netherlands.
  • 2006. Shelter Me. Ubud Bali: Gaya Fusion Art Space. Indonesia.
  • 2005. Asal. Teheran: Etemad Gallery. Iran.
  • 2004. The Shelter. Kuala Lumpur: Valentine Willy Gallery. Malaysia.
  • 2002. Moral Pointer. Jakarta: Lontar Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2001. I Eat You Eat Me. Bangkok: The Art Center. Center of Academic Resources. Chulalongkorn University. Thailand.
  • 2000. Saya Makan Kamu Makan Saya. Cemeti Art House. Yogyakarta. Indonesia.
  • 2000. Saya Makan Kamu Makan Saya. Yogyakarta: Lembaga Indonesia – Perancis. Indonesia.
  • 1999. Temporary Space. Sapporo. Japan.

Group Exhibitions:

  • 2020. ‘ARTJOG: esilience’, Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta, indonesia
  • 2020. ‘Closer than they appear’, Yavuz gallery, Sydney, Australia
  • 2020. ‘Back to Art’, A+ Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 2020. ‘The Armory Show’ with Baik + Kneysser, New York, USA
  • 2020. ‘Transient Museum of a Thousand Conversations: LIR at ISCP’, ISCP, New York, USA
  • 2020. ‘Trajectory’, Lawangwangi Creative Space, Bandung, Indonesia
  • 2019. ‘Polyphony: South East Asia’, University Museum of Art, Nanjing, China
  • 2019. ‘Fomo/Jomo’, Rubanah Underground Hub, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2019. ‘Setouchi Triennale’ Ibuki Island, Japan
  • 2019. ‘Sunshower’, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaoshsiun, Taiwan
  • 2019. ‘The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030–2100’, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia
  • 2019. ‘Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia’, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia
  • 2019. ‘Dunia Dalam Berita’, Macan Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2019. ‘Art Basel Hong Kong’, with Yavuz Gallery, Convention Center, Hong Kong, China
  • 2019. ‘Concept, Context, Contestation’, Goethe Institute, Yangon, Myanmar
  • 2019. ‘Felix LA’ with Baik Art, Hollywood Hotel, Los Angeles, USA
  • 2018. ‘Edge of Wonderland’, Thailand Biennale, Krabi, Thailand
  • 2018. ‘Disposable Bodies’, Yavuz Gallery, Singapore
  • 2018. ‘|Beyond The Myth – Art Bali’, AB.BC Building, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
  • 2018. ‘Java – Art Energy’, Center for Islamic Cultures, Paris, France
  • 2018. ‘20th SSAS/AS/IDEAS’, Bale project, Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia
  • 2018. ‘Sandangan’ Lorong Gallery, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2018. ‘900mdpl’ Lir – site-specific project, Kaliurang, Indonesia.
  • 2018. ‘SPEKTRUM Hendra Gunawan’, Ciputra Artpreneur, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2018. ‘Enlightment’, ArtJog18, Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2018. ‘Art Busan’, with Baik Art, Busan, South Korea
  • 2018. ‘The Sun Teaches Us that History Is Not Everthing’, Osage Art Foundation, Hong Kong
  • 2018. ‘Henosis’, Baik Art, Seoul, South Korea
  • 2018. ‘Vanitas’, food designweek, Palazzo Michiel, Venice, Italia
  • 2017. ‘Beautiful Distress’, Het Vijfde Seizoen, Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2017. ‘Power and Other Things’, Europalia, Bozar, Brussels
  • 2017. ‘Sunshower’, National Art Center Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2017. ‘Baik Art Residencies’, Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, Davidson, USA
  • 2016. ‘Art with Purpose’, exhibition for United Nations, National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2016. ‘SEA+ Triennale’, National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2016. ‘Merayakan Murni’, Sudakara Art Space, Sanur, Bali, Indonesia
  • 2016. ‘Universal Influences’, ArtJog08, Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2016. ‘On the Table’, Lir Project Space, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2016. Concept, Context, Contestation, Mes56, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2016. ‘Paper Traces’, Sangkring Art Space, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2016. ‘Manifesto V’, National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2016. ‘Workwear’, Casa d’Itali, Montreal, Canada
  • 2016. ‘Workwear’, The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, New York, – Colombia College, Chicago, USA
  • 2016. ‘20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed’, Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • 2016. ‘Costume National’, AXENÉO7, Quebec, Canada
  • 2016. ‘Dialogue Playground’, Dia.lo.gue, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2015. ‘Indonesian Contemporary Art & Design (ICAD)’, Grand Kemang, Jakarta
  • 2015. ‘No title yet’, Sangkring Art Space, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2015. ‘ART/JOG15 – Infinity in Flux’, Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2015. ‘Politics of Food’, Delfina Foundation, Londen, England
  • 2015. ‘Fashion as Social Energy’, Palazzo Morando – Museum of Imagine, Fashion and Costume, Milan, Italia
  • 2015. ‘Video works by Southeast Asian artists’, Art Paris, Grand Palais and club Silencio, Paris, France
    ‘Orde Baru’, OkVideo, Media Art Festival, National Gallery, Jakarta
  • 2014. ‘The Roving Eye’, ARTER, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 2014. ‘Abiti Da Lavoro’, Milan Triennale, Galleria Aulenti, Milan, Italia
  • 2014. ‘Melihat Indonesia’, Ciputra Artpreneur, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2014. ‘ART/JOG14 – Legency of Power’, Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2014. ‘Medium at Large’, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
  • 2014. ‘Fiesta Kota Tua Jakarta’, Jakarta Endowment For Art and Heritage (JEFORAH), Jakarta Contemporary Arts, Post Office Fatahillah, Indonesia
  • 2014. ‘Dirty Feet’, Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2013. ‘Siasat’, Jakarta Biennale, Museum Keramik dan Seni Rupa, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2013. ‘Suspended Histories’, van Loon Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2013. ‘Outspoken’ Biasa Art Space, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
  • 2013. ‘Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art’, the Blaffer Museum of Art, University of Houston, Houston, US
  • 2013. ‘ART/JOG13; Maritime Culture’, Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2013. ‘Sip! Indonesian Art Today’ ARNDT Berlin, Berlin, Germany and Singapore
  • 2012. ‘Safe Place in the Future’, Jim Thompson House, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2012. ‘Duchamp in South East Asia’, Equator Art Projects, Singapore
  • 2012. ‘Indonesia Contemporary Fiber Art-Mapping’, ArtOne Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2012. ‘Design/Art : Renegotiating Boundaries’, Lawangwangi Creative Space, Bandung, Indonesia
  • 2012. ‘XXL’, Sangkring Art Space with Valentine Willie Fine Arts, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2012. ‘HomoLudens’, Emmitan Gallery, Surabaya, Indonesia
  • 2012. ‘ART/JOG12’, Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2012. ‘Negeri Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat’, Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • 2012. ‘Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art’, Smart Museum, Chicago, US
  • 2012. ‘Dress/ID -the language of the self’, Centre d’art Passerelle, Brest, France
  • 2012. ‘Subject Shall Remain Anonymous’ Helutrans Artspace, Singapore
  • 2012. ‘Art Dubai’, Dubai, the Emirates
  • 2012. ‘Artfair Paris’, Grand Palais, Taiss Gallery, Paris, France
  • 2011. ‘Beyond The East – A gaze on Indonesian Contemporary Art’, MACRO Testaccio Museum, Rome, Italia
  • 2011. ‘Skin Matters’, Soemardja Gallery, ITB, Bandung, Indonesia
  • 2011. ‘Motion/Sensation’, Grand Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2011. ‘Expansi – Contemporary Sculpture’, National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2011. ‘ Indonesian Eye’, Saatchi Gallery, London, England and Ciputra Art Preneur Jakarta
  • 2011. ‘Configurations – Indonesian Mythologies’, Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris, France
  • 2011. ‘KAAP’, Fort Ruigenhoek, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2011. ‘Absence’, Manila Contemporary, Manila, the Philippines
  • 2011. ‘Negotiating Home, History and Nation’, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
  • 2011. ‘Fiber Face’, Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
    ‘ArtStage’, with Valentine Willie Fine Arts, Singapore
    ‘1001 Doors’, Ciputra Marketing Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2010. ‘GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity’, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, England
  • 2010. ‘Digit(all)’ Umahseni, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2010. ‘ShadowDance’, Kunsthal Kade, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
  • 2010. ‘Material Girls’, 24hr Art, Darwin, Australia
  • 2010. ‘No Direction Home’, Edwin Gallery at National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2010. ‘Making History’, Jendela Gallery, Esplanade, Singapore
  • 2010. ‘Faith and Reason’, Manila Contemporary, Manila, Philippines
  • 2010. ‘Mist’, Lawangwangi Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia
  • 2009. Beyond the Dutch. Central Museum. Utrecht: Central Museum. The Netherlands.
  • 2009. Fusion Folks. Taipei. Bo-Pi Liao. Taiwan.
  • 2009. New Nature. Jakarta: Vanessa Art Link at the National Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2009. The Incheon Women Artists Biennale. Art Platform. Incheon: Art Platform. Korea.
  • 2009. Re-Addressing Identities. Katonah Museum. New York: Katonah Museum. USA.
  • 2009. Living Legends. Jakarta: Edwin Gallery at the National Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2009. Blue Print. Tembi Contemporary. Yogyakarta. Indonesia.
  • 2009. Enam Pekan Perempuan, Jakarta: Salihara Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2009. ASEAN Contemporary Art Exchange. Yangon: Tamada Gallery. Myanmar.
  • 2008. From Jail to Canvas, Jakarta: Salihara Galeri. Indonesia.
  • 2008. A Decade of Dedication: Ten Years Revisited. Bandung: Selasar Sunaryo Art Space. Indonesia.
  • 2008. 8888. Sevilla: La Cartuja. Cultural Council. Sitges. Spain.
  • 2008. 10th Sonsbeek: Grandeur. Arnhem: Park Sosnbeek. Netherlands.
  • 2008. Urban Concerns. Bildmuseet. Umea: Bildmuseet. Swedia.
  • 2007. Kuota. National Gallery. Jakarta: National Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2007. Yogyakarta Biennale, Neo-Nation. Yogyakarta: Taman Budaya. Indonesia
  • 2007. 22nd International Art Exhibition. Bandung: Selasar Sunaryo Art Space. Indonesia.
  • 2007. The Curtain Opens. Jakarta: National Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2007. 100 tahun Affandi. Yogyakarta: Taman Budaya. Indonesia.
  • 2007. Very Fun Park II. Taipei: Fubon Art Foundation. Taiwan.
  • 2007. Fashion Accidentally. Taipei: Museum of Contemporary Art ( MOCA ). Taiwan.
  • 2007. Shelter. Museum de Fundatie. Zwolle – Heino: Museum de Fundatie. Netherlands.
  • 2007. Wherever We Go. San Francisco: San Francisco Institute of the Arts. USA.
  • 2006. Saigon Open City. Ho Chi Ming City: War Museum. Vietnam.
  • 2006. Wherever We Go, Milan: Spazio Oberdan. Italia.
  • 2006. Nederland 1, Gouda: Museum Gouda. Netherlands.
  • 2006. Flucht Vertreibung Integratio, Bonn: Haus the fe Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Berlin: Deutschen Historischen Museum, Leipzig: Zeitgeschichtlichen Forum. Germany.
  • 2005. Taboo and Transgression in Contemporary Indonesian Art. Ithaca: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, New York: Cornell University. USA.
  • 2005. GRID #2. Paris: Eof Art Space. France.
  • 2005. Urban Culture. CP Biennale II. Jakarta: Museum Bank Indonesia.
  • 2005. Ripe, Benatara Budaya, Jakarta: Benatara Budaya. Indonesia
  • 2005. Yokohama 2005. International Triennale of Contemporary Art. Yamashita Pier, Yokohama: Yamashita Pier. Japan.
  • 2005. Natural Selection. Linden. Melbourne: St Kilda Center for Contemporary Arts. Australia.
  • 2005. Go Inside. Tirana Biennale. Tirana: Galeria Kombetare e Arteve. Albania.
  • 2004. Identities versus Globalisation. Chang Mai: Chang Mai Art Museum. Thailand, Bangkok: Museum of Contemporary Art. Thailand, Berlin: Dahlem Museum. Germany.
  • 2004. Artscope. Bandung: Selasar Sunaryo Art Space. Indonesia.
  • 2004. Asian Traffic. Sydney: Asia-Australia Contemporary Arts Centre. Australia.
  • 2004. Reformasi. Sculpture Square. Singapore.
  • 2004. Living With HIV-Aids – artists responding on HIV-Aids. Bangkok: Queens Gallery. Thailand
  • 2004. Art Summit. Jakarta: National Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2004. Menimbang Dunia Perempuan. Yogyakarta: Taman Budaya. Indonesia.
  • 2003. GRID. Erasmus Huis, Jakarta: Erasmus Huis. Indonesia.
  • 2003. Witnessing to Silence. Canberra:Canberra Contemporary Art Space, as part of the ANU Humanities Research Centre Project, Art and Human Rights. Australia.
  • 2003. Interpellation. CP Open Biennale, Jakarta: National Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2003. Sorak Sorai Identitas. Magelang: Galeri Langgeng. Indonesia.
  • 2003. Country-Bution. Yogyakarta Biennale VII. Taman Budaya. Yogyakarta. Indonesia
  • 2002. EVA 2002. Limerick. Ireland.
  • 2002. Site _ Sight, translating cultures. Sculpture Square. LaSalle College of the Arts. Singapore.
  • 2002. Gwangju Biennale. Gwangju. Korea.
  • 2002. Visual Poetry. Hokkaido Museum of Literature. Sapporo. Japan.
  • 2002. OPEN 2002. 5th International Exhibition of Sculpture and Installations. Venice Lido: Italy.
  • 2002. GRID. Yogyakarta: Cemeti Art House. Indonesia.
  • 2001. Palu – Indonesia Forum. Palu: Indonesia.
  • 2001. Not I am I. Jakarta: Nadi Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2001. Floating Chimeras. Edsvik Art. Sollentuna. Sweden.
  • 2001. ARS 01, Helsinki: KIASMA Museum. Finland.
  • 2000. Reformasi Indonesia. Delft: Museum Nusantara. The Netherlands.
  • 1999. Womanifesto 99. Bangkok: Saranrom Park. Thailand.
  • 1999. Soul Ties. Singapore Art Museum. Singapore.
  • 1999. Third Asia-Pacific Trinnale. Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery. Australia.
  • 1999. Festival Pekan Seni Ipoh IV 99. Perak: Art Foundation Perak. Malaysia.
  • 1999. Makasar Art Forum. Ujung Pandang. Indonesia.


  • 2009. Follow Me, Disclosed Territories. Solo: Padepokan Lemah Putih. Indonesia.
  • 2008. The Constructor. Senthong Seni, Bantul: Senthong Seni. Indonesia.
  • 2007. This Land is Ours. Solo: Padepokan Lemah Putih. Indonesia.
  • 2004. Rubber Time II. Sydney: Asia – Australia Contemporary Arts Centre. Australia.
  • 2004. I Eat You Eat Me IV. Yogyakarta: ViaVia Café. Indonesia.
  • 2004. Nyuwun Den. Yogyakarta: Kedai Kebun Forum. Indonesia.
  • 2003. Rubber Time I, Theertha International Artists Workshop 2003. Lununganga: Sri Lanka
  • 2003. Rubber Time II, Yogyakarta Biennale VII, Yogyakarta: Taman Budaya Sosietet. Indonesia
  • 2002. Under Cover. Jakarta: Lontar Gallery. Indonesia.
  • 2001. Under Cover. Bangkok: The Art Center, Center of Academic Resources, Chulalongkorn University. Thailand.
  • 2001. I Eat You Eat Me I. Bangkok: EAT ME Restaurant. Thailand.
  • 2001. I Eat You Eat Me II. Habituspublik 2001. Jakarta: Blok M Plaza. Indonesia.
  • 2001. I Eat You Eat Me III. Edsvik. Sollentuna. Swedia
  • 2000. Under Cover, Yogyakarta: Lembaga Indonesia-Perancis. Indonesia.
  • 1999. Hi Inlander, APT3. Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery. Australia.
  • 1998. Pribumi. Yogyakarta: Malioboro Street. Indonesia.

Art Projects:

  • 2006. Leben Gundlings Friedrich von Preüssen Lessings Schlaf Traum Schrei. Lichtenberg: Heiner Müller Foundation. Berlin.
  • 2004. Seeing with Foreign Eyes…. Flying Circus: Theater works. Singapore.
  • 2003. Collaboration at Studio 106 with Amanda Heng. Singapore.
  • 2003. Theertha International Artists Workshop. Lunagangga. Sri Lanka.
  • 2002. Art of Bamboo. Yogyakarta: Nitiprayan Village. Indonesia.
  • 1996. Kita Makan Apa Hari Ini. Surabaya Art Festival. Surabaya. Indonesia
  • 1993. Art and Nature, Cremation Place Pralina at Munduk Village, Bali. Jakarta: Goethe Insitute. Indonesia.
  • 1991. Inspiraties I. City Theatre. Arnhem. The Netherlands.
  • 1991. Inspiraties I. Arnhem: Museum of Modern Art. The Netherlands.


  • 2004. Dahan. Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia.
  • 2003. Studio 106. LASALLE-SIA Collage of the Arts. Singapore.
  • 2001. Art Center. Chulalongkorn University. Thailand.

Grants and Awards:

  • 2008. Academic Art Award #2, Jogja Gallery / Indonesia Institute of the Arts. Yogyakarta. together with Nindityo Adipurnomo.
  • 2006. The John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award. New York. USA together with Nindityo Adipurnomo
  • 1998. Travel grant to Sapporo from The Japan Foundation. Jakarta. Indonesia.
  • 1988–1991. Artists work grant from the Ministry of Culture and Education. Netherlands.