Concerted efforts. Nina Barnett, Citizen Coombs, Mbongeni Dlamini, Samantha McCulloch, Robyn Nesbitt, Catherine or Kate, Morné Visagie. Curated by Robyn Cook, Samantha McCulloch, Lauren von Gogh and Christopher Williams-Wynn.
Concerted efforts reflects on authorship, the cult of the curator and the group exhibition format. The project compiles and presents the work of collaborative art groups from South Africa and Australia, incorporating and problematising transnational exchanges. The project interrogates the glib tokenism often associated with collectivity, as it is frequently used to project an image of harmony to the detriment of debate. Collaboration, we are told, will solve all ills, just so long as failure is not an option.
In the context of a strident neoliberal economic order, artistic practice cannot resist all forms of co-option by and complicity with the primacy of capital. This project recognises the necessary challenges and issues inherent in bringing artists together. These artists are divergent and heterogeneous in their multiple approaches to authorship across national, social and cultural lines reflecting in varying ways and to varying ends on the role of collaboration in the production of work.
Such a compilation does not strive to emphasis a benevolent collective unity but rather to explore the diversity and discontents of collaboration, the paradox of collaboration itself. This ambiguous meaning is crucial: it suggests both cooperation and collusion, productive work with an ally and traitorous fraternising with an enemy.
Catherine or Kate