DEGREES OF SEPARATION
an exhibition as part of TRAIN/ENNIAL, c3 Annual Fundraiser 2018
29 NOVEMBER - 9 DECEMBER 2018, c3 contemporary art space, melbourne
Artists: Andrew Atchison, Karima Baadilla, Olga Bennett, Kate Beynon, Moorina Bonini, Marcelle Bradbeer, John Brooks, Andy Butler, Tyson Campbell, Lara Chamas, Pascale Dawson, Jeremy Eaton, Hannah Gartside, Kate Golding, John Gosper, Ben Hattingh, Yumemi Hiraki, Tom Hvala, Allyn Laing, Katie Lee, Janelle Low, Patricia McCarthy-Henry, Louise Meuwissen, Jem Olsen, Katie Ryan, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, Yuval Rosinger Sosoyuv, Audrey Tan, Abigail Varney,
(Non)-Curator: Sophia Cai.
The theme for 2018’s c3 fundraiser was an ‘interrogation of the internal structures of the Melbourne art world.’ The exhibition used the notion of a train as a metaphor for structures of power within the art world and the various motions artists must go through in order to further their career. It also challenged the current zeitgeist of blockbuster exhibitions in Melbourne.
While institutional critique is all well and good, as artists and curators we are also very much embedded in the very structures that determine these outcomes. Thinking about how to curate an exhibition in this context, while also grappling with the fact that this is project is also a fundraiser (and therefore requires monetary value and exchange), raised further institutional critiques and questions around artistic value and independence.
Degrees of Separation was an exhibition that spoke to these topics. The basic idea for the exhibition was a ‘curate-by-peer’ model, where each artist’s acceptance in the project is conditional upon their nomination of two of their artist peers, who then nominate their peers, and so forth. The basis for this approach was rooted in the artistic community of Melbourne, but also that old adage that it is not ‘what you know but who you know.’ This exhibition also delegated the role of the curator, by giving the responsibilities of selecting the artists and the works to the artists themselves.
Due to institutional constraints however, and the powers of geometric progression, (where 1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 4, 4 becomes 8, etc) Degrees of Separation was capped at a maximum of 30 artists and 4 degrees of separation in total.