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Curatorial Statement: The Breaking Point

Curatorial Statement: The Breaking Point


Curated by Elena Cremona, ‘The Breaking Point’ is an exhibition of new work by artist’s Ram Vafa and Bertie Sampson.

“We have lived in the garden so long, that we have all but forgotten the commonplaces of survival”
— John Wyndham

Throughout our journey on Earth, we have left more than just a human footprint – we have reached our breaking point. There are some who yearn for an earlier world where humanity and living things seemed to exist in harmony, and who deplore the way we are destroying the world of nature.

Our role within the environment is becoming an ever more intangible, complex and unsettling issue, in which humans have created for themselves a privileged, selfish, perhaps even narcissistic position, in solitude, at the centre of everything. Our exhibition, The Breaking Point, brings together two artists who explore their relationship with nature and their understanding of it. With each artist offering an alternative approach to our environment, the exhibition introduces themes of self-acceptance and self-denial towards our identification within nature.

Vafa’s and Sampson’s work comes together to create a spatial field of attraction and repulsion for the viewer. Each sculptural piece has a commanding presence by which the viewer must circumnavigate in order to engage with both artists work but where their movement also becomes part of the piece.

As you journey through the exhibition – taking in the work of Ram Vafa, whose sculptural work conveys acceptance and growth through self-awareness, and Bertie Sampson’s light projections, which translate climate change data into light – we invite you to question the part you play in nature and offer guidance through Acknowledgment, Faith, Understanding, Connection and Transformation.

Our first offering begins with Acknowledgment. How can we have grand conversations about saving the environment, without recognising our own self-destruction within it? Vafa’s offering through his infinity mirrors is to allow the viewer to ask questions about themselves when confronted with their own self. We need to engage in healthy self-awareness regarding our position within the environment, but even within ourselves, before we can allow for progression to take place.

By projecting climate change data onto the body, Sampson’s first offering allows the viewer to directly identify with the destruction of our environment. The projected lines represent out exponential growth as a species, using the body as the canvas and light as climate change data. We thrive in our environment, always pursuing improvement and choosing to ignore the negative effects this progression causes.

As your journey through the space continues, you will be guided to The Breaking Point – a creative dialogue between Vafa’s sculptures and Sampson’s light projections. We invite you to step closer and investigate the discomfort the sculptures make you feel. Are you aware that the glass could easily snap in half if you added the slightest bit more pressure onto it? Are you aware that the wine glass would break off of the wooden stump if you pushed it the slightest bit more?

This part of the exhibition offers a visual representation of our 2°C separation from destroying the world. Climate researchers believe that an increase in global average temperatures of 2°C above pre-industrial levels would take the world into unchartered territory, with potentially unforeseen consequences in terms of extreme weather and climate feedbacks that could accelerate the melting of polar ice and the rising of sea levels.


Our next offering stands with Faith – the idea that we need something to believe in, in order to help us change the world. Vafa’s sculpture of his own hands clinging on to faith is his offering to the spiritual and intellectual world, to seek growth and acceptance through liberating art as a form of action. Based on the importance of sharing vulnerability in art, Faith allows the viewer to seek acceptance through connection and interaction. 

Walking along the space, the Transformation piece, invites the viewer to contemplate the question of individuality vs. the power in numbers. The constant movement of Sampson’s lights projected onto Vafa’s sculpture, contributes to the greater discourse or our collective responsibility and place within nature and the natural world.  After you have accepted your own relationship with nature, as well as your own progression within humanity, it is important that we offer guidance through connection and the understanding that no one is alone.

Vafa’s and Sampson’s work comes together to create a spatial field of attraction and repulsion for the viewer. Each sculptural piece has a commanding presence, which the viewer must circumnavigate, in order to engage with both artists work, but equally where their movement becomes part of the piece.

Our final offering is that of Progression. We invite you to interpret your own meaning into the generative projection onto the painted canvas. Do you see a giant oil spill or a beautiful aerial view of our landscape? How will you progress in order to help sustain and maintain a healthy world and environment? All the exhibited works touch on these themes, and are made over the course of this journey of self-reflection. Our offering is to simplify what it means to be a part of nature. 

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