P r o j e c t s

Coalesce: Happenstance

10th January to 22nd February 2009

SMART Project Space, Arie Biemondstraat 105-113, Amsterdam

Curated by Paul O’Neill.

Artists: Dave Beech & Mark Hutchinson, David Blandy, Het Blauwe Huis with M2M radio, Kathrin Böhm, Nina Canell, Oriana Fox, Freee, General Idea, Jaime Gili, Clare Goodwin, Lothar Götz, Tod Hanson, Toby Huddlestone, Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Cyril Lepetit, Ronan McCrea, Jonathan Mosley & Sophie Warren, Jem Noble, Isabel Nolan, Harold Offeh, Mark Orange, Eduardo Padilha, Garrett Phelan, Sarah Pierce, Manuel Saiz Savage, temporarycontemporary, Richard Venlet, Robin Watkins, Lawrence Weiner, Matt White, Mick Wilson

Coalesce film programme Ursula Biemann & Angela Sanders, Jakup Ferri, Esra Ersen, Adla Isanovic, Helmut & Johanna Kandl, Tadej Pogacar and the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E Museum of Contemporary Art, Marko Raat selected by B + B.


Coalesce is the title of an evolutionary exhibition project, initiated by Paul O’Neill in 2003. Coalesce: Happenstance at SMART Project Space was the final version of the project and the culmination of 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 United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain) are gathered together for this large cumulative show.

Coalesce: Happenstance provided the first major exhibition of O'Neill's work in the Netherlands. An evolving exhibition as a work of art in progress, it posited 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 had 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 overlapped with one another, with the exhibition completed on-site by artists using the exhibition space as their space of production, whilst 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 was 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 moved through three principal categories of organisation, with the Background, Middle-ground and the Foreground coalescing with one another.

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

Adapted from the press release.