SINGAPORE - Are two heads always better than one? It would seem so, in the case of independent visual arts institutions.
Collaborations between such entities allow these smaller, non-state-run initiatives to pool resources, expertise and influences to create the space for them to better pursue their common goals.
These independent players may take the form of artist-run spaces or exhibition and research centres linked to tertiary institutions, but they all occupy a space between the dominant state-run or state-funded museums and the large swathe of commercial galleries.
While state institutions may be limited in their educational role by having to serve a wide audience, commercial galleries are in the business for profit.
Independent players say they need to pool resources to offer alternatives to the well-trodden circuit of exhibitions, art fairs and talks in Singapore's busy visual arts scene. And what they offer is discursive practice and scholarship that sometimes can be esoteric, a little off the wall and hard-hitting.
Mr Jason Wee, founding artist of Grey Projects, an artist-run platform for publication, curation and exchange, laments: "A scene that comprises art fairs, galleries and state museums is not a scene."
There are two such ongoing collaborations. Grey Projects and the National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum are co-curating an exhibition about the origins of wood in South-east Asia.
The other partnership has cultural and social enterprise Post-Museum working with the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) - an exhibition and research offshoot of the Nanyang Technological University, housed at the Gillman Barracks gallery cluster - to run Post- PopUp, a project to explore space and the kind of shape that a space can take.
Both partnerships are project-based and short-term, lasting only several months each.
Another art institution which has done such collaborations is the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, which has partnered the NUS' University Scholar's Programme to produce a book about the life of the late China-born, Singapore- based musician Lucien Wang.
Ms Bridget Tracy Tan, director of the academy's Institute of Southeast Asian Arts & Art Galleries, says its ties with local and overseas partners will "enhance the ability to create portals of enrichment and research-led practice".