I’m not here to shade anyone’s attempts at artistic expression, but Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo’s “EXERGIE – Butter dance,” has me scratching my head. The video description almost does it justice:

Suryodarmo enters the space, dressed in a black tight dress and red high heels. She steps on the pieces of butter. She starts to dance to the sound of indonesian shamanistic drums. She dances and falls, hitting the floor hard, rising, and continuously being on the verge of standing, slipping and falling in the butter.

And that’s really what it is. Watch her put her all into sliding around on twenty sticks of butter for about six minutes, with a look on her face that shows she means business.

If you think hard enough, especially if you have a degree in digression and conjecture (a.k.a. a BA or MA in liberal arts), it’s not hard to conjure up a deeper meaning for what’s going on here. She’s struggling for control and commited to facing her circumstance as a woman head on or something? I’m not sure why butter and not, say, lard, or even a lighter but still slippery option like extra virgin olive oil, though. Any thoughts?

  • Kay

    I feel like she is talking about the struggle for weight loss. At least that is how this piece spoke to me lol!
    The butter represents fat, food, everything I love and hate…everytime she falls, it represents falling off the diet…falling into the addiction to buttery, fatty foods. She wobbles as she tries to conform to society’s ideals, but she falls. And falls again.

  • t..

    hey hey hey whats with the shade to the lib arts degree holders?! lol who’s gonna clean up all that butter though? lol

  • Pat

    Roflmao.. Why do I feel like I’m watching a clip of jackass. This is not art at all as a fact this mocks art for what it is.

  • Pat

    I like your interpretation.

  • Dalili

    LOL, ok then!

  • mamareese

    Haha girl stop!!! There must be patron involved for you to think this is art. If it’s art why does she look like she busted her face….on swoll.

  • Mo

    Imagine how much your legs have to work to prevent you from falling…. seems like a good workout….lmao

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir


    My cousin, he is very ghetto yall, wrote this post about contemporary art. I think it would apply here.

    I remember reading a study somewhere about how the brains of artistic people are very similar to those with schizophrenia. Maybe this is way “normal” people and those of us who are a little crazy(me) have such difficulty understanding conceptual art.

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    You answered your own question :)

  • Kacey

    Wow. Talk about suffering for your art!

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    There’s nothing to think deep about here. Some buttery ass mess and a kray kray woman who wants to end up without legs! Urrrrgh!! ————–>my interpretation of “art”

  • Terri

    it has to do with weight loss and the struggle with it. Hence the butter.

  • Simone L

    Ummm….I’m going to attempt to get a rebate for the 2 minutes I invested in this. I couldn’t watch the whole thing.

  • Shirl

    I hope the folks in the audience did not pay to see this mess. Just say loosing weight is not easy and leave it at that (if that’s what she was going for). I’m sorry but this is stupid. You should have seen me this morning trying to squeezing into a too small pair of jeans…Now that’s art. I finally just gave up and put on my mom jeans.

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