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Situation: Collaborations, collectives & artist networks from Sydney, Singapore & Berlin

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


06 Jun 2005 to 21 Aug 2005


Sydney: Simon Barney, Alex Gawronski, Sarah Goffman, Anne Kay & Jane Polkinghorne, Lisa Kelly, Elizabeth Pulie; Singapore: Jeremy Hiah, Koh Nguang How, Kai Lam Hoi Lit, Tang Da Wu, Lee Wen, Juliana Yasin, Agnes Yit; Berlin: Lise Nellemann, Ariane Müller, Egill Sæbjörnsson, Tino Sehgal, Joel Wilcke


Russell Storer

about the exhibition

Situation was a unique exhibition that looked at three active artist networks in 2005 – Sydney, Singapore and Berlin. In each, vibrant artistic communities flourished, supported by a range of artist-generated initiatives including collectives, artist-run spaces, publications and archives.

In an era of globalised culture, frequent travel and numerous international biennales, artists still work closely within their own communities and address situations in their own place. Situation invited artists from three cities to reflect on their own contexts and communities, as a way of unveiling the connections between artists and their environment.

Thematically, Situation addressed art as ‘social space’ – a concern that reached prominence during the 1990s with artists creating work in close interaction with their audiences, often outside of galleries and museums, with an emphasis on the process rather than final product. Art of this nature is distinctly related to the experience of urban life, with its desire to build communities, to make connections, and investigate interpersonal relationships. It has become a popular form within the art world, placing its local potential at risk of being consumed by the global art market and exhibition circuit. This exhibition focused on a small number of artists, artistic networks, collaborations, and interventions, allowing for close investigation of specific practices, and presenting audiences with an insight into how different artists around the world are working today.