Melissa Mabesoone

© Anais Chabeur
© Anais Chabeur


Melissa Mabesoone grew up on a farm in the Netherlands with her twin sister Natasja, where they spent their days daydreaming, drawing, horse back riding and working on the field. She learned work on a farm was never really done and that she wanted to create her own ‘work’. After a short career as an equestrian, she did an introduction in Philosophy and studied Visual Arts at KASK, Ghent. She moved to Amsterdam where she worked at Kunstverein Amsterdam on the play In:quest of Icarus, in het Stedelijk Museum. a.o. In her artistic work Melissa was exploring the boundaries between the public and the private, the banal as political entity: in exhibitions, performative interventions or textual works, at OT301, Sale Docks, M HKA, Verbeke Foundation, nY magazine. As a writer and performer she explores different text forms and performance styles, often within one work.

Together with Oshin Albrecht she founded the collective 'buren’ in 2012. With their work they channel humorous, imaginative and critical realities with a strong visual and musical drive. Through performance, video, text, objects, songs, photography and installation they navigate ideas of community, domesticity, gender, (art) history and neoliberal fantasies. Their practice is shown in white cubes, black boxes, discursive spaces, on- and off- spaces and is supported by a.o. Playground (STUK / Museum M), Vooruit, Pukkelpop, de Brakke Grond, Netwerk Aalst, Galerie AmPolylog, Z33, Buda, Bâtard, Kaaitheater, Casco, Tatjana Pieters, workspacebrussels, KAAP. In 2020-2024 buren is part of the European Network Apap - Feminist Futures via Buda.

Melissa was the lead actress in the one-shot film Anonimity of the night - the Guardroom by Assaf Gruber (2015), she acted in Davis Freeman's play Fathers and sons (2014) and performed On Reconciliation for Dora Garcia (2018). Since 2015 she works with Peter Aers on his conversational performances as scenographer, performer and co-creator: Against Interpretation (2015), Crime and Punishment (2017), the Pain of Others (2018), and together with choreographer Femke Gyselinck on the immersive video installation A Curse Poem (2021). 2019-2020 she acted in Anatomy of Pain by Lies Pauwels & NTGent.

Melissa is part of Engagement, a movement that tries to tackle sexual harassment, sexism and power abuse in the Belgian arts field, and beyond.