Art exhibition: 'Kill or Cure'

Kill or Cure poster
Date 23/09/2022 at 10.00 - 09/10/2022 at 17.00 Where Combination Room (above Porters' Lodge), The 'Gallery', and Dining Hall

Lethal or life-giving? Wolfson's exciting contemporary art exhibition explores the potential of animals, plants, and substances from the natural world to ‘Kill’ and/or ‘Cure’ (open to the public, Saturday and Sundays, 10am - 5pm).

Kill or Cure poster

Kill or Cure aims to discover and explore how the natural world has informed, inspired, and transformed the medical sciences: how plants, animals, natural substances and resources can be either lethal or life-giving.

At the boundary of art and science, the exhibition is designed to stimulate discussion and debate, showcase exceptional art and ideas, and explore the relationship between art, modern medicine, and the natural world.

Kill or Cure includes 36 contemporary artworks and two installations from 32 artists from around the world. A number of celebrated British and international artists - including Mat Collishaw, Charlotte Verity, Julieta Hanono, Tom Ellis, and Adrien Missika, amongst others, have provided generous loans, with significant artworks and installations exhibited within an iconic place of learning. These artist and major artworks are exhibited in Cambridge – and in many cases in the UK – for the very first time.

In another first, and in the spirit of the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition and Wolfson College's egalitarian values and inclusive culture, Kill or Cure includes works selected following a competitive Open Call. In the spirit of accessibility and putting ideas first, the exhibition provides an opportunity for younger and emerging artists – as well as students, academics, and people from different fields – to engage in a broad and interdisciplinary dialogue across the arts and sciences.

The exhibition spans classical to conceptual styles, and features diverse media, including painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, installation, collage, video, and digital art.

Many of these works are based on years of development, research, and practice. The result is a treasure trove of ideas and visual responses, informed by creative practice and intuition as well as cutting-edge science and research.

From the Curator, Dr Anna M. Dempster:

"Through these artworks, we are presented with unexpected and alternative viewpoints from across the African content to China, from Europe to the Americas. We see how people have both harnessed the power of nature and succumbed to its omnipotence. We are encouraged to not just consider the perspective of the person, but also the plant, the animal and its environment - which is never quite as it seems. As some common themes emerge, we are reminded of the often-overlooked beauty of the ordinary, the possibility of finding the marvellous in the mundane, and the importance of balance and respect for our shared world."

This exhibition is part of Wolfson Explores: Growth, the annual guiding theme which aims to stimulate rich, productive dialogue across interdisciplinary and cultural borders.


Read interviews with the curator Dr Anna M. Dempster for Wolfson and in Cambridge Edition.

Read a review of the exhibition in the Varsity.


Viewing the exhibition

The Kill or Cure exhibition is open to the public. 

Opening Times: Saturdays and Sundays 10.00-17.00, until Sunday 9 October.

Please note that the exhibition is occasionally unavailable, for instance during graduations.

It is advisable to contact the Porters' Lodge in advance of your visit (01223 335900).


About Wolfson exhibitions

Wolfson has an established programme of exhibitions and artistic events which take place throughout the year and are framed by its modernist architecture, beautiful landscaped gardens and embedded into academic life.  

The art on show is enjoyed by both the academic and wider community. Exhibitions are open to the general public, for students and Fellowship and visited by scholars, guests and visitors from around the world.

Wolfson has an established art exhibitions programme which has showcased the work of both renowned international artists and innovative emerging artists with the aim of stimulating reflection, discussion and debate. This exhibition is curated by Dr. Anna M Dempster, Fellow, Wolfson College. 

You can find out more about exhibitions at Wolfson on the Arts page


What's on

A triptych of three plant-themed paintings: the left shows large leaves, the center features a dark forest scene, and the right depicts vibrant, stylized foliage and flowers.

Art Exhibition: 'Life Within Landscapes'

09/06/2024 at 10.00

Explore Wolfson's newest exhibition, 'Life Within Landscapes', showcasing works by three Cambridge-based female contemporary artists, inspired by their Caribbean heritage.