Artist Surrogacy

Lija Markus

Liza Markus 1.jpg
Liza Markus 2.jpg

About the Project

Artist Surrogacy is our method to preserve intimacy and elements of exchange that exist in conventional models of an artist residency that we could no longer do on an online/non-contact basis. In this method, the artwork, concept, and artistic sensibility of one artist will be embodied and delivered by another artist residing in a different country/region.

In short, just like in biological surrogacy, the second artist will be the “surrogate mother” for the first artist. The surrogate artist will also contribute some of their local “gene” to the final artwork. We aim to explore how to include “hands-on” art practice in a distanced-residency program, to test out alternative art distribution, and to “switch” the currency used on the costs of the daily meals in a way that perhaps, this project can help to “un-starve” the participating artists.

Implementation Plan


1. There will be two roles that each of the artists in the pair will do:

a. To be the artist

b. To be the Surrogate Artist

2. The two roles will be carried out within 30 days; the two roles can be done simultaneously or by taking turns.

3. Responsibilities of the Artist:

a. They will open themselves artistically and aesthetically; in both perspective and practice (and other aspects to that) to the surrogate artist.

b. They will entrust their “seed” of ideas to the surrogate artist.

c. They will provide the cost of shipping the artwork.

4. Responsibilities of the Surrogate Artist:

a. To be open and willing to learn about the artist. (Artistic, aesthetic, perspective, practice)

b. To become the medium for the artist. To be the temporary “parent” of the artwork.

c. To carry the artwork “to the term” within the specified timeframe.

d. To install and present the artwork at the chosen spaces (rented, online, or offline)

e. To document, pack, prepare the shipment and ship the artwork.

5. Responsibilities of Both Artist and Surrogate Artists:

a. To carry out the project with compassion and tolerance realistic to the time frame (7 hours/7 days), to the meal equivalent), and to the condition (access of materials, etc.) in each respective country.

6. Each pair determines their mode of surrogacy process that is the most suitable for them.

7. Profit: The profit received from the artwork purchase (or rent) will become the retribution of the surrogate artist.

As an alternative to an online web exhibition (OVR or otherwise), we plan to create an exhibition that goes to the audience instead of the traditional sense of audience going to the exhibition. We will try putting the works on an online marketplace and create a “rental” format so the audience can have the artworks in their own houses for a certain period.

Artist's Profile

Lija (b. Indonesia, 1995) trained as a sculptor in Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, express her ideas about shared human emotions through objects, drawings, sculptures, installations, writings and exhibitions she curated. In recent years, she has been exploring a more managerial and curatorial role in the exhibition-making process. Her current interest lies in the phenomena of religious masochism, and traces of postcolonial hybrid cultures in Southeast Asian Christian and Catholic rituals. Her recent projects include organizing an online art meme writing residency ACADEMIC FANTASY INDONESIA with Anathapindika, in partnership with indo/art/no and antikolektifkolektifklub. She also organized INIKAH RASANYA… (NERAKA) which is an artistic exchange between ArcoLabs curators and Singaporean Artists while organizing an artist-in-residency program with Studio Batur Bandung in 2019 – 2020.