An Act of Showing: rethinking artist-run initiatives through place

Image design Elwyn Murray

An Act of Showing: rethinking artist-run initiatives through place consists of three parts: an exhibition, an accompanying roundtable symposium which was held during the exhibition at Testing Grounds, Melbourne (20 May, 2017) and an accompanying publication. The exhibition was curated by Anabelle Lacroix. The exhibition was set as a material conversation between invited artist run initiatives (ARIs) and Aboriginal Art Centres in Australia and the Asia-Pacific. The project’s intention was to embody and provoke conversations about place: how does place matter for artists? Why do ARIs exist in specific places? Where is the place of practice?

An important influence has been Chris Kraus’s small but powerful essay, Kelly Lake Store and Other Stories, a text that speaks to the dilemmas of globalisation and the growing inequality that the current form of globalised capital is creating. For Kraus, as for philosopher Jeff Malpas, “place” and where you are in the world, matters. In the context of our constant connection through the internet, it can seem as if the actual, physical and material place where you are has diminished in importance. We’re all connected online. No need to worry. It’s a global world. The proposition of this exhibition and symposium is that, on the contrary, physical, material place is still of the greatest importance. It still matters, even if the ways that it matters are contested and varied. The project aimed to provoke discussion around place, place-making, place-responding and a sense of place in relation to artist-run spaces.  What does it mean for artists to have access to local spaces for exhibition and involvement? What are the ways that place impacts on this? What’s at stake for ARIs and artist? Our proposition is that thinking about place can open new ways of understanding and valuing what ARIs always already do.

For the exhibition we received a great variety of work – artists responded with new work as well as existing work that focused on place. There was also site-specific responses and performative responses.

Creative responses included:
AirSpace Projects – Marrickville Sydney; Articulate Project Space-Leichhardt Sydney; Blak Dot Gallery- Brunswick Melbourne; BLINDSIDE–Melbourne CBD; Boxcopy – Brisbane, Queensland;  BUS Projects- Collingwood, Melbourne; c3 Contemporary Art Space- Abbotsford Melbourne; Cementa- Kandos NSW; FELTspace-Adelaide; The Garage Gallery- Canberra; Open-Contemporary Art Space- Taipei, Taiwan; One Place After Another- Brisbane, Queensland; Raygun Projects-Toowoomba, Queensland; Ruang MES56- Yogyakarta, Indonesia; SawtoothARI- Launceston Tasmania; The Laundry Art Space -Brisbane Queensland; Trocadero Art Space- Footscray, Melbourne; The Walls- The Gold Coast, Queensland; Waringarri Arts- Kununurra, WA; Watch This Space, Alice Springs, NT and West Space- Melbourne, CBD.

FELTspace: Luke Wilcox, An ARI saved my life, 2017.
Adelaide, SA


Ruang Mes 56
Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Cementa: Jenny Brown, Parallel Play: developmental psychology for capitalists, 2009. Kandos, NSW


Blak Dot Gallery: Frances Tapueluelu, Technological Colonisations, 2016. Brunswick, Melbourne
Articulate Project Space: Sue Callanan, Cold in the space of breath: device for circulating air, 2015.
Leichhardt, Sydney
Installation view
BLINDSIDE (left) Watch This Space (right) Open-Contemporary Art Centre (foreground)
The Laundry Art Space: Aishla Manning, Naomi O’Reilly and Chloe Waters, Makeshift, 2017, (video still).
Brisbane, Queensland
Raygun Projects: Tarn McLean and Alexandra Lawson
Toowoomba, Queensland
Trocadero Art Space: Georgia Banks, #whoisspitman, 2017, (performance)
Footscray, Melbourne
Waringarri Arts: Bush Medicine Mural, 2012
Kununurra, WA
Installation view
Open-Contemporary Art Centre
Taipei, Taiwan
AirSpace Projects: Jacqui Mills and Sally Clarke, Revolving Door, 2017, (video still).
Marrickville, Sydney
The Garage Gallery: Peter Maloney, Hot Shop, 2017
Boxcopy: Joseph Breikers, No Joke/End Times: A Listening Party, 2017.
Brisbane, Queensland