Open Quantum System (OQS) description of a many-body system involves interaction of Shell Model (SM) states through the particle continuum. In realistic nuclear applications, this interaction may lead to collective phenomena in the ensemble of SM states. We claim that the nuclear clustering is an emergent, near-threshold phenomenon, which cannot be elucidated within the Closed Quantum System (CQS) framework. We approach this problem by investigating the near-threshold behavior of Exceptional Points (EPs) in the realistic Continuum Shell Model (CSM). The consequences for the alpha-clustering phenomenon are discussed.