The project sets a new precedent for Australian cross-cultural collaborations, existing across a range of platforms including the exhibitions in Singapore and in Melbourne, a comprehensive publication designed by Fabio Ongarato Design and a residency exchange.

And the Difference is... was part of Gertrude Contemporary Art Space’s international exhibition series -The Independence Project. This exhibition featured work by seven Australian and six Singaporean artists and has been scheduled in acknowledgement of the 10th anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding between Arts Victoria and National Arts Council, Singapore. Conceptually, this exhibition explored the human and personal perspectives that are embedded within agreements such as the Memorandum of Understanding.

Presenting work in a range of media including performance, installation, photography and sculpture the exhibition highlighted the way paper agreements remain inanimate and symbolic until actualised through the ambition for genuine exchange and cultural entanglement.

This project has placed an emphasis on reciprocity and was first presented at the NUS Museum, Singapore in December 2008. The exhibition at GCAS in May 2009 featured a ‘refreshed’ version of the exhibition, with artists who created new works in response to their experiences in Singapore alongside works that featured in the original exhibition.

And the Difference Is… explored how interpersonal engagement can activate and galvanise aspirational contractual gestures, making true connections and encouraging real exchange between two cultures. These ideas were explored in a new work by Kiron Robinson and Lani Seligman that outlines the many problems and resolutions involved in exhibitions of this kind. Danielle Freakley and Gabrielle de Vietri’s new video works explore the potential for misunderstanding in cross-cultural exchanges. Singaporean artist Charles Lim, and current artist in residence at GCAS, realised a performative work where he invites viewers to sample a durian lolly, exploring cultural stereotypes, and the imposition of cultural values. Many of the works in this exhibition focused on personal interpretations of place and self, examining the potential for cultural difference to be reviewed through emphasizing our shared compulsion to imagine, mythologise and create.

To order a copy of this book please email the Gallery Manager