Coalesce: Happenstance

An evolutionary exhibition project

10 Jan 2009
22 Feb 2009

'Coalesce' is the title of an evolutionary exhibition project, initiated by curator Paul O'Neill (Bristol) in 2003. 'Coalesce: Happenstance' at SMART Project Space is the final version of the project and is the culmination of O'Neill's past six years of research and development into the possibility of an exhibition as a form of co-production between multiple agencies. Artists from previous editions (in the UK, Ireland and Spain) are gathered together for this large cumulative show.


Coalesce: with all due intent, Sligo, Ireland, 2004 - Paul O'Neill

'Coalesce: Happenstance' provides the first major exhibition of O'Neill's work in the Netherlands. An evolving exhibition as a work of art in progress, it posits exhibition-making as a form of artistic practice where the accumulation of actors and actions co-produce a single co-habited exhibition form. O'Neill has invited a vibrant selection of artists to take part in his project as co-producers to develop new work in response to each other, and to the overall exhibition structure and concept. Works overlap with one another, with the exhibition completed on-site by artists using the exhibition space as their space of production, whist considering the exhibition as a collaborative structure that facilitates a space of co-habitation, critical responsiveness and of cooperative exchange. By exploring and articulating both formal and conceptual similarities, 'Coalesce' is an inter-mingling of individual works operating at different spatio-temporalities from fast track to slower durational works. Taking the conceptual-form of a pictorial plane, the exhibition moves through three principal categories of organisation, with the Background, the Middle-ground and the Foreground coalescing with one another.

The conceptual basis of 'Coalesce' is the complex interaction between the artists and the gallery space, and the manner in which this develops while researching the usual modes of occupation of specific exhibition spaces. The final result is dependent on the interaction, and many spaces of dialogue are created between the works, the space of the gallery and the audience. 'Coalesce' is also specific in that one of its premises is to closely collaborate with other curators and institutions that are invited to resp0nd to the concept of the project. SMART Project Space has invited Belgian artist Richard Venlet as a newcomer to the project with a newly commissioned work for the exhibition.

At the opening on the 10th of January 2009, a musical performance by Irish music research group TradFutures@W2.0, will take place. The exhibition runs until 22 February 2009. For more information, visit the SMART website.