A solo exhibition by Jerson Samson
Fragments of Identity
The concept of the individual is heavily explored in Jerson Samson’s oeuvre. Whether the individual is perceived to be a unique and distinct being, or imagined as part of a large and formless entity, Samson employs the use of various media to draw attention to how multiple interpretations of the self could manifest in the physical form. Identity is transitory; people are seen as perpetually involved in the process of completion. The complexity of human emotion is given substance, and we are encouraged to repeatedly examine and reexamine ourselves within these visual parameters.
In “Tao,” Samson brings together an assemblage of sculptures and paintings that silently trace the process of introspection. Beginning with the self in relation to one’s environment, a trio of hand-moulded sculptures replicate the human form, its features slightly tinged with the mystical. The visage of an androgynous figure looks vaguely human, where pieces of its partially formed body protrude and split, creating the illusion of life and movement. Samson personifies the elusive wind, which we are able to imagine by isolating the empty, half-formed spaces that swathe and penetrate the three figures. The remaining fragments form the picture of ruins which, to Samson, become whole only within the subconscious mind.
The process of introspection further moves outward; from the self, it looks beyond. The individual is imagined as part of a homogeneous sea of people, each person visualised as a mere stroke of the brush. Indistinct and uniform, human emotions and experiences are collectively grouped into one coherent mass, where the notion of identity is processed as a whole. In contrast to the three sculptures, Samson seeks to establish the ability of a unified mass to influence perceptions of the self.
In “Tao,” the collective sum of an individual’s experiences and emotions ultimately form its identity which, by virtue of its mutable nature, renders the individual a work in progress, always headed towards subsequent completion. The exhibition records the changing notions of the self—both as a singular phenomenon and an amalgamation of events and conditions, allowing us to find ourselves amid the gentle curves and sharp corners of half-formed ruins, or amongst an endless sea of people, moving like minuscule dots on a surface that is perpetually changing.
Words by Elle Lucena