Western Bridge

The conceit of “Possessed”—the overlap between the things that we own and the things that own us—is a common-enough curatorial theme, but this exhibition had no particular ax to grind. Neither explicitly anticonsumerist nor especially hostile to the notion of a controlling influence, it was one of those rare shows that allow a theme to refocus itself from work to work, reveling in the sly linguistic shift from physical to ethereal. “Possessed,” which was curated from the collection of Bill and Ruth True, did not force work into interpretive contortions but gently and persuasively framed and reframed.

Shirin Neshat’s luminous black-and-white video Possessed, 2001, which lent the show its title, depicts—to the accompaniment of Sussan Deyhim’s soaring, mournful sound track—a lovely, wild-eyed woman muttering to herself, whispering into cracks in walls, and stirring up trouble in a town

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