Turn the corner to find an ancient, Japanese Shinto mirror, which sets the stage for one of the exhibition's central questions: the nuanced relationship between art and religion, made manifest through the compulsion to create. Mirrors in Shinto were believed to contain Kami spirits, divine beings of the natural world, and they feature (as seen later in a Kamadina shrine) as a prominent motif in ritual and practice: when one prays to a shrine, one sees themselves, a fraught dialogue between the internal and the external, the divine both within and beyond the self. The mirror serves to bind religion with reality, recalling Shakespeare's immemorial reflection: the purpose of art, intones Hamlet, is "to hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature."
Where does religion end and art begin? In conceiving religion as the conclusion of "making, thinking, symbolising," the exhibition synthesises the two, while the curation - straddling the museum curiosity cabinet and the art gallery installation - prompts us to wonder where these divisions disintegrate.